UK car output declined for the 12th month in a row in May.

Data from the SMMT showed that output was down by 15.5% in the month versus the same month in 2018.

So far this year, output is around a fifth down on the same period of last year. The SMMT said that demand both at home and abroad was down by double-digits as softening in the UK and key global markets, and the effects of model changes, caused the negative performance to continue.

In the month, manufacturing for domestic buyers fell by 25.9%, while overseas orders were down by 12.6%. Exports accounted for 80.9% of all cars made, reemphasising the importance of maintaining free and frictionless trade, the SMMT said.

In the year to date, UK car production is down 21.0% with 557,295 new models rolling off production lines – almost 150,000 fewer compared with the same point in 2018. This is partly explained by the decision of some car makers to bring forward summer shutdowns to April in anticipation of the expected March date for the UK to leave the EU.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Twelve consecutive months of decline for UK car manufacturing is a serious concern and underlines yet again the importance of securing a Brexit deal quickly.

“The sector is facing multiple seismic challenges simultaneously: technological, environmental and economic. The ongoing political instability and uncertainty over our future overseas trade relationships, most notably with Europe, is not helping and, whilst the industry’s fundamentals remain strong, a brighter future is only possible if we secure a deal that can help us regain our reputation as an attractive location for automotive investment. No deal is not an option.”