Although 5,808 commercial vehicles were produced during June, up 39.6% on the same (Covid-hit) month in 2020, overall production for the first six months of the year was down 20.9% on the pre-pandemic average.

The export share of production has fallen to 48.1% for the year so far, down from 57.4% on the pre-pandemic average for the first half.

Production increased 39.6% compared to June 2020 when many plants were operating at reduced capacity because of pandemic restrictions.

First half production was affected by a prolonged UK-wide lockdown from January to March and ongoing shortages within the supply chain and workers increasingly requiring to self-isolate.

Exports of commercial vehicles year to date fell as overseas markets underwent their own Covid-related restrictions, affecting business confidence, but domestic demand increased in support of the UK’s economic recovery.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “After a tough start to the year, commercial vehicle production is steadily recovering against a backdrop of increased demand, but still remains short of previous years. The shortage of semiconductors continues to impact on output, and the sector faces a significant challenge as increasing numbers of workers find themselves being asked to self-isolate. However, van production levels remain strong, and recent long-term investment announcements will ensure the UK retains a healthy commercial vehicle manufacturing sector.”

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