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May 27, 2021

April UK CV production struggles to keep up with pre-pandemic level

April 2021 output way up on COVID-19 locked down April 2020, of course but UK commercial vehicle makers struggling to reach pre-pandemic and Brexit volume.

By Graeme Roberts

UK commercial vehicle (CV) production increased to 6,177 units in April, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a significant increase on April 2020 when just nine units left production lines as COVID-19 stopped manufacturing.

Although up on the equivalent pre-pandemic April 2019, which was itself weak given model changeovers notably impacted output, production was still down 6.1% on the five-year average for the month.

Year to date commercial vehicle production increased by 4.2% to 22,267 units, driven largely by a rise in domestic demand, up 18.6%, while exports were down by 6.7%. The domestic share of production continues to steadily increase in 2021 as a combination of new trading arrangements and varying lockdown measures across the European Union – the leading export destination for CVs – affect output.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “April’s figures were always going be positively skewed, given a full month of plant closures last year, so the uptick is good but expected news.

“We are a long way off recovery, however, and the prolonged ebb in production for overseas markets highlights the challenge ahead. CV manufacturing is as dependent on business confidence at home as it is abroad, so it is important the UK stays on track for timely recovery as global markets reopen.”

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