UK car production dropped for a third consecutive month in August, as industry bosses renewed their concerns over a final Brexit deal.
Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that 89,254 units left the production lines of British car plants in August, down 13% on the same month in 2017.
A multitude of factors contributed to the slide, including model changes, planned maintenance shutdowns and preparation for new WLTP emissions standards that came into force in September.
Production for the UK plummeted by 39% to 16,271 units, but the decline in cars built for export, which account for more than 80% of all UK production, slipped just 4% to 72,983 units.
The vast majority of cars built for export go to the European Union, adding to industry fears of a ‘no deal’ Brexit and resultant tariffs being applied to exports.
“With exports, the majority to the EU, continuing to drive demand, it underscores the importance of a Brexit agreement to safeguard this trade; for our sector, ‘no deal’ is not an option,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.
Hawes added that the quieter summer months are often subject to fluctuations due to the variable timing and duration of annual maintenance and re-tooling shutdowns in factories.
“This instability was exacerbated in August, with the industry racing to recertify entire model ranges to meet tougher testing standards in force on September 1.”
So far in 2018, more than one million cars have rolled off British production lines, a 5% decline year-on-year, with exports continuing to shore up demand. While almost 850,000 cars were shipped abroad in the first eight months, just 194,887 were built for the home market, representing a 19% decline compared to the same period in 2017.