UK CV production recovery stalls in August

UK commercial vehicle (CV) production fell 11.5% year-on-year in August, reversing the trend from June and July when numbers were up.

In all, 4,915 trucks, vans, buses and taxis rolled off production lines in August, compared to 5,556 in the same month in 2019, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). However, it should be noted that figures in August 2019 were the best since 2012, buoyed by new models.

The figures also showed that exports fell significantly year-on-year, down by nearly 30%, as demand in key markets such as Europe, the Americas and Asia fell, partly due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While the domestic market showed impressive growth of some 22%, it wasn’t enough to offset the international losses. The overall share of vehicles built for overseas customers down to 51.8%.

Overall for 2020, UK CV production is still 20% down year-on-year – a shortfall of more than 9,000 units – which is in large part due to the lockdown across the UK and Europe during March, April and May caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

With fears over a second wave of coronavirus – and various local restrictions on movements coming in this month – the industry faces multiple challenges on their own operations and those of their customers, said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT.

Hawes added that news of a new job support scheme from the government was welcome, but the industry was awaiting more detail on how it will work for businesses that have been reliant on the furlough scheme. “However, we also still need immediate measures for suffering bus and coach manufacturers and their supply chains as we head into a difficult winter with no long-term solution in sight for plummeting ridership numbers. More broadly, with the looming end to the Brexit transition period, the sector faces the prospect of even greater strain on its tentative restart.”

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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