UK commercial vehicle manufacture continues to decline

The British car manufacturing sector has experienced a resurgence in recent years and is now producing more cars than at any time in the last five years; however, commercial vehicle production is a different story, with the number of units produced in the UK continuing to fall.

Figures released for September show that production for this year has already broken the one million unit barrier, to 1,125,433, up 3.9 per cent on the same period in 2012. There were 140,888 units produced in the month of September alone, representing a 9.9 per cent increase on last year.

The increase in the UK’s car production has provided a valuable boost to the UK’s export market, with 79.3 per cent of the units sold outside of the country. This has resulted in a 9.3 per cent increase in cars sold outside of the country for the year to date.

Industry commentators believe the resurrection of the once dwindling car manufacturing sector is one of the UK’s biggest success stories in recent years.

The robust demand for UK vehicles and a reputation for world-class design, research and development and engineering has resulted in a long term financial commitment from across the world, particularly in developing countries.

However, the news is not all positive. The UK’s output of commercial vehicles has hit a low ebb since the recent closure of the Ford Transit plant in Southampton, and continues to wane.

The figures for September show that commercial vehicle production fell to 6,693 units, down 27.5 per cent compared to same month in 2012. For the year so far, 67,609 commercial vehicles have been produced, representing a 17.9 decrease on last year.

This decline is a result of the current restructuring of UK operations along with economic uncertainty in the EU. There is some cause for optimism: engine manufacturing is continuing to climb with an 8.3 per cent increase in September to 230,743 and a 1.2 per cent increase for the year to date.

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