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Brexit blamed as car manufacturing plunges

Sliding export orders mean bleak times for UK car plants.

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British car manufacturing fell by nearly 20% in November. New figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 129,030 vehicles were produced during November.

Production of cars for the UK market fell by 2% but exports were the most affected, with a 23% drop – the fifth month in a row that they have fallen.

SMMT analysts pointed to a continuation of recent trends in the figures, weaker demand in the UK and in key European and Asian export markets exacerbated by the ongoing impact of new regulation alongside planned model and technology changes.

Just over 105,000 cars were exported in November, representing eight in 10 vehicles leaving UK factories.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes described the results as “very concerning”, adding that output had been seriously impacted by falling business and consumer confidence in the UK allied to weakening export markets.

“With fewer than 100 days until the UK leaves the European Union, the automotive industry needs certainty and a ‘no-deal’ Brexit must be ruled out,” Hawes said.

“Thousands of jobs in British car factories and supply chains depend on free and frictionless trade with the EU – if the country falls off a cliff edge next March the consequences would be devastating,” he added.

In the year to date, more than 1.4 million cars have been produced in the UK in total – an 8% year-on-year decline. Export volumes are down by 75,085 vehicles, while output for the UK market is down by 54,143.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.