UK CV manufacturing falls 7.8% in 2019

The UK commercial vehicle manufacturing sector fell by 7.8% in 2019, according to new figures, with model changeovers, variable fleet buying patterns and regulatory issues blamed for the decline.

In all, 78,270 were produced in 2019, compared to 84,888 in 2018, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The biggest drop in production was for the export market, which fell by 8.4% to 46,110 units. This equates to 59.6% of all vans, trucks, taxis and buses built in the UK in 2019 being sent for export – with 94.6% going to the EU. Overall, British-built CVs were shipped to at least 57 different countries globally, including 619 units to Israel, 299 to Australia and 168 to Hong Kong. Meanwhile the UK market declined by 7.0% in the year, with 2,408 fewer UK-built CVs joining British roads.

Over the course of 2019, several issues affected CV buying, including two anticipated Brexit deadlines, the introduction of mandatory smart tachographs in trucks in June and the introduction of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure at the beginning of September.

However, despite the overall decline over 2019, new model production was up in December. CV output rose 8.7%, which was largely driven by manufacturing for export, which rose by 30.5%. Meanwhile, continuing the trend seen in recent months, production for the home market declined by 18.6%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “2019 was a turbulent year for British commercial vehicle production, with key model changeovers and some regulatory issues contributing to the falling output. With model changeovers now complete, we expect to see CV output bounce back this year, however, this is reliant on political and economic stability that supports domestic demand.

“Given exports still account for the majority of UK output, with nine in ten vehicles shipped overseas destined for the EU, we need a trading relationship with Europe that protects this vital pillar of UK manufacturing, and this means a tariff-free trade agreement that puts automotive at its centre.”

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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