First three quarters of 2019 are the worst the UK Automotive industry has faced since 2011
The UK automotive industry has had a turbulent first three quarters of 2019, with the first nine months being the weakest since 2011.
Output during the first three quarters of this year is down 15.6% on 2018’s figures. This marks a continual 15-month period of decline for the sector, notwithstanding August when many plants kept production running after moving the shutdown period to April to guard against disruption from the original March 29 Brexit date.
Most worrying of all though is the continued threat of a ‘‘no-deal’’ Brexit, something which has caused international investment to stall and cost UK operations hundreds of millions of pounds.
– Mike Hawes – SMMT chief executive
September 2019 saw production across the UK decline by 5.1%, with this decrease being put down to political and economic uncertainty. As well as UK production being on the decline, exports also fell by 3.4% as lessening demands in global and European markets negatively impacted overseas orders.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has stated that these figures illustrate the multiple challenges that the UK Automotive industry is facing in the current climate.
Technological challenges and growing trade tensions, are impacting the industry, along with the fact that many UK businesses are having to divert huge resources in order to be prepared for the possibility of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
British automotive manufacturers have already, collectively, spent over half a billion points on measures designed to mitigate leaving the European Union without a deal. The lingering fear of a no-deal Brexit is also leading to many manufacturers halting, or even cancelling, essential investment into new products and facilities.
The SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, has said: “Another bitterly disappointing month reflects domestic and international market contraction.
“Most worrying of all though is the continued threat of a ‘‘no-deal’’ Brexit, something which has caused international investment to stall and cost UK operations hundreds of millions of pounds – money that would have better been spent in meeting the technological challenges facing the global industry.
“A general election may ultimately provide some certainty, but does not yet remove the spectre of no deal, which will continue to inhibit the UK industry’s prospects unless we can agree and implement a new, ambitious and permanent relationship that safeguards free and frictionless trade.”