In Brief

UK car production slump continues

Manufacturing is down almost 17% year-on-year amid more Brexit fears

Car production in the UK plummeted once again last month amid continuing uncertainty over the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the industry. 

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed that production in September fell by 16.8% to 127,051 cars, marking a decrease of 25,610 vehicles compared with the same period last year. 

The trade body’s figures also highlight a dip in production of 6.6% in 2018 compared with the first nine months of 2017, with current manufacturing down to around 1.17 million cars produced since January, Auto Express reports.

Car exports fell by 16.2% and roughly 80% of vehicles produced in the UK are sold abroad, according to The Daily Telegraph.

A “triple whammy” of issues is being blamed for the poor figures, the newspaper adds. This includes the “demonisation” of diesel cars, the introduction of the stricter Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) emissions system, and supply issues that may result from a no-deal Brexit. 

Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief executive, urged the Government to “recognise the importance of a deal that maintains free and frictionless trade with the EU, but it is up to all sides to deliver this to safeguard the hundreds of thousands of jobs depending on the sector”, he added.

He also notes that Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, can “stimulate the market” with next week’s autumn budget, which could “encourage the purchase of new cars” and help the UK deliver on “environmental goals”.

The news comes following a series of warnings issued by leading car manufacturers operating in the UK. 

Last week, Ford’s European chief Steven Armstrong claimed the car company may evaluate its presence in the UK if a no-deal Brexit is reached, as the firm relies heavily on tax-free trading and no border checks. 

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