UK car production accelerates for second month in a row

Production was up 5.7% in November, but still far below pre-pandemic levels

A Nissan assembly line in Sunderland. UK car production has grown in six of the past seven months. PA
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UK car production grew for the second consecutive month in November, up 5.7 per cent from the same month in 2021 to 80,091 vehicles, according to the latest figures published on Friday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

UK motor manufacturing has grown in six of the past seven months, despite the continuing global shortage of chips amid persistent supply chain concerns.

The November car production figures are a glimmer of positive news amid a plethora of downbeat statistics covering the UK economy in recent weeks, including high inflation, rising unemployment and falling gross domestic product growth.

Nonetheless, the November car manufacturing growth figure is still 44.1 per cent below a pre-coronavirus five-year average for the month.

It is also 25.7 per cent lower than 2019’s November total of 107,744 units.

Exports accounted for three quarters of the cars made in the UK last month, with the majority of shipments (57.3 per cent) heading into the EU, followed by the US (21.9 per cent) and China (5.9 per cent).

However, the volume of exported cars was down 5 per cent on November 2021 while production for the home market was up 59.1 per cent to 20,206 vehicles, a rise of 7,505 cars.

Members of staff working between two-metre wide designated work stations on a car assembly line at the Vauxhall car factory during preparedness tests and redesign ahead of re-opening following the COVID-19 outbreak. Located in Ellesmere Port, Wirral, the factory opened in 1962 and currently employs around 1100 workers. It ceased production on 17 March 2020 and will only resume work upon the advice of the UK Government, which will involve stringent physical distancing measures being in place across the site. (Photo by Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images)

Electric performance

Meanwhile, the production of battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles rose by 18.3 per cent to 29,318 vehicles, which was more than a third of the total output for November.

“These figures bring some Christmas cheer to UK car makers in what has been another incredibly tough year. Supply chain shortages, overseas lockdowns and some structural and product changes have combined to throttle output for much of 2022 but there is renewed hope these issues will begin to ease in 2023,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

“This could bring a much-needed boost to the economy. However, to attract the investment needed for long term growth, we still need stability and more competitive conditions, not least to alleviate crippling long term energy costs.”

Updated: December 23, 2022, 9:20 AM