UK commercial vehicle manufacturing falls back again in September

UK commercial vehicle production declined by 11.7% year-on-year in September, with the fall largely down to dipping demand in the domestic market, which is being blamed on ongoing political and economic uncertainty.

In all, 7,320 units were manufactured in September – almost 1,000 fewer than in the same period in 2018 – according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Output for overseas markets was up some 25.4%, but production for the domestic market fell by 44.5%.

This demonstrates the volatility of the UK market. In August, year-on-year numbers were nearly 1,800 higher (5,544 units) and the best since 2012.

Factories turned out some 7,320 CVs in the month with 66.7% built for shipping to European and global markets. But overseas sales overall for 2019 remain 13.2% down – a decline of 7,400 units.  Production for the UK is also down, by 2.6%, although only four in 10 British-made CVs remains in the UK given the export focus of the industry.  

In the year to date, 53,037 units have rolled off the production line compared to 61,100 in the first nine months of 2018 – a fall of 13.2%. Both the domestic and overseas markets have seen falls in sales, by 2.6% and 19.4% respectively.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “It’s been a pretty turbulent first nine months for UK commercial vehicle production, with model changeovers and the variable pattern of fleet buying cycles affecting output. While it is worrying to see a fall in September domestic orders, the vast majority of our CV output is shipped overseas, mostly into the EU, and so to ensure ongoing sector competitiveness we need a truly ambitious future relationship based on tariff-free and frictionless trade.”

Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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