SMMT predicts rebound in UK car production

After a poor year for the UK automotive industry, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says there is room for optimism this year.

The SMMT says that UK factories produced 859,575 cars last year, which was 34% down on 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, and even slightly down on 2020. It cites the shortage of semiconductors as the principal reason, with staff shortages and self-isolation requirements further compounding matters.

Nevertheless, the SMMT points to more positive trends emerging as 2022 starts, with the production of electric vehicles and investment in battery factories looking particularly strong. Mike Hawes, the Chief Executive of SMMT, said that if the supply of components starts to loosen up again, the UK could produce over a million cars again this year.

While he accepted that new entrants could take production back to around 1.5 million vehicles per year, which was last seen in 2018, the SMMT wasn’t currently factoring this in, adding:

“What really matters is getting the supply of components and bolstering output of existing plants, and if some of those plants can secure new models in the medium term, then it can get to, certainly, consistently above one million.”

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