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UK car manufacturing stalls as 2020 ends

29 January 2021
Peter Barnes, Head of Automotive at global legal business, DWF, comments on the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) full year car production data for 2020. He said:
"The COVID-19 pandemic continues to severely impact businesses and manufacturing on a global scale and the automotive industry has not been immune to these pressures. This and other challenges including Brexit uncertainty and supply chain issues throughout the last year have taken their toll on the sector. 

"It is therefore no surprise to anyone that the SMMT data released this week shows UK car production declined by 29.3% in 2020, with almost 921,000 cars produced in the year, while in the month of December, output was down by 2.3% to 71,403 for the month. 

"In terms of manufacturing for export, this fell by 29.1%. More than one in eight cars made in the UK goes overseas, with the majority going to Europe where exports fell by 30.8%. However in some good news for the export trade, exports of UK-manufactured cars actually rose to China, Taiwan and South Korea. 

"The UK car industry has been facing falling investments and uncertainty since the 2016 vote to leave the EU. However, as the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine gathers pace here in the UK, and coupled with the UK avoiding a 'no deal', this will create more certainty for the sector which should translate into a boost in consumer confidence as the year progresses."

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