UK commercial vehicle (CV) production declined 45.4% in February, with 4,308 units built, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

CV manufacturing entered its fifth consecutive month of decline as supply chain shortages, new customs processes and prolonged lockdown measures across the globe affected output, resulting in the worst February on record.

As COVID lockdown measures and social distancing at home suppressed domestic output by 36.8%, vehicles built for export saw a much sharper drop, down 51.3%, as parts shortages, such as semiconductors, combined with lockdowns and friction surrounding new trading arrangements drove the decline, given the majority of all shipments were headed for Europe. Nevertheless, despite the challenges, exports continue to make up more than half (52.5%) of all commercial vehicles built in the UK.

Performance year to date has decreased 38.3%, with a shortfall of 6,155 vehicles compared to this time last year, as only 9,924 vans, trucks and buses were built in the first months of 2021.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "A fifth consecutive month of decline for UK commercial vehicle production is grim news but expected given the challenges the automotive sector is facing."