The number of cars built in UK factories slumped by 11 per cent last month compared with a year ago, new figures out today show.
A total of 121,051 cars left production lines – down from 135,954 in July 2017 – with a fall of 35 per cent in models built for the UK (29,872 to 19,414), said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Car production for export in July fell by 4.2 per cent from 106,082 to 101,637.
Despite the reduction, though, the sector remains broadly on track to meet 2018 expectations, said the SMMT.
Just under 955,500 cars (955,453) were built in the first seven months of the year, down by 16 per cent for the UK market and 1.2 per cent for export.
Model changes, operational adjustments and preparations for new emissions standards affected output last month, said the SMMT.
Chief executive Mike Hawes said: “While the industry is undoubtedly feeling the effects of recent uncertainty in the domestic market, drawing long-term conclusions from monthly snapshots requires a health warning.
“The bigger picture is complex and month-by-month fluctuations are inevitable as manufacturers manage product cycles, operational changes and the delicate balance of supply and demand from market to market.
“To ensure future growth, we need political and economic clarity at home, and the continuation of beneficial trading arrangements with the EU and other key markets.”
Today’s figures follow a 5.5 per cent drop in June, which saw 128,799 cars produced in the UK – a fall from the previous June’s 136,632. While exports grew by six per cent in June 2018 (113,152 against 106,731), that couldn’t offset a 47.2 per cent overall decline in domestic demand from June 2017 – down from 29,631 to 15,647.
Model cycles, operational changes and preparation for a new range of next-generation vehicle technology ahead of new WLTP emissions standards in September all played a part in June 2018’s anomaly, said the industry body.
The first half of 2018 saw a ‘moderate’ decline in UK car manufacturing of 3.3 per cent from 863,299 to 834,402 units, said the SMMT.