United Kingdom auto production nearly halves in April following Brexit factory shutdowns

SMMT April production figures

SMMT April production figures

The SMMT tells us previous year, the United Kingdom shifted 127,970 cars in the same month.

That was 56,999 fewer than in April a year ago.

Manufacturing for domestic and overseas markets fell by 43.7% and 44.7% respectively in April as many car-makers brought forward and extended stoppages normally scheduled for the summer holidays.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes added: "No-deal must be taken off the table immediately and permanently, so industry can get back to the business of delivering for the economy".

The SMMT added that the costly and wasted production shutdown can not now be repeated for an October 31 deadline, exposing the United Kingdom vehicle industry to further risk.

In yet more salty news, the UK's engine manufacturing took a 23.4 per cent year on year hit too, with 177k British-built engines produced in April '19 compared to 232k in April '18.

The Brexit date has now been delayed to October 31 but the SMMT said factories could not shut down again in preparation for a possible no deal without suffering losses.

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The stoppages have weighed down on the global auto industry amid the VW emissions controversy and a lingering a trade standoff between the USA and China.

This disappointing monthly performance is the 11th straight month of decline, made worse by underlying downward trend, largely the result of slowing demand in key worldwide markets, including the EU, China and the United States, as well as the UK.

The SMMT initially estimated that production for the whole of 2019 would be down by ten per cent.

But it said a no-deal Brexit would make the declines worse with the threat of border delays, production stoppages and additional costs. An orderly Brexit with a transition period would ease the decline by the end of the year while a no-deal Brexit could exacerbate the situation, SMMT said.

"The prospect of no deal must be taken off the table immediately and permanently, so industry can get back to the business of delivering for the economy and keeping the United Kingdom at the forefront of the global technology race", he said.

Registrations fell 0.5 percent to 1.34 million cars in the European Union and EFTA from 1.35 million a year earlier, according to industry association ACEA.

A Business Department spokesman said: "The government wants to see the United Kingdom automotive sector continue to grow and attract further investment".

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