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UK: Car production down 5.8% in September

By Dave Leggett | 18 October 2012

Car output in the UK declined by 5.8% in September according to data released by the SMMT.

The decline reflects slower demand in export markets, especially Western Europe. 

The September total for cars produced reached 128,192 units, with exports of 102,365, down 8.9% on last year.

However, cumulative car production in the first nine months stands at 1,083,276 units, 10.2% ahead of the same period last year with exports up 9.5% at 888,865 units. 

"Declining demand for cars and vans across the major European markets impacted UK vehicle and engine production in September," said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. "Total UK vehicle manufacturing in the year so far has increased 8.7%, but monthly output fell by 7% in September. The strong demand for UK products outside Europe and the investment committed by major vehicle manufacturers will secure future growth, although the coming months will be challenging for companies at all levels in the supply chain. European governments must focus on securing financial stability and economic growth or they risk long-term damage to key industries.”

John Leech, KPMG UK head of automotive, echoed Evritt's comments and also sees positives in prospects for shipments beyond Europe.

“At first glance, Europe poses a real threat to UK car production as its economies struggle to restore business and consumer confidence.  However, demand for cars outside of Europe in countries such as China and India is still strong and expected to remain steady going into 2013.  Therefore, a drop in last month’s output figures should be taken with a pinch of salt as the UK is set to invest and grow its automotive industry including its supply chain for the export market.  

“Throughout 2012, we’ve seen car production in the UK rise and fall. At the beginning of the year the Euro crisis deepened and UK car output clearly reflected a change in business and consumer attitudes in Europe. But despite weakening demand in the Eurozone, UK car production rose on the back of strong exports to non-European economies such as China at the beginning of the year. We can expect this trend to continue into 2013 but this time we are also expecting a bounce back from the UK consumer.”