Western Morning News

Huge fall in UK car production

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THE number of new cars built in the UK last year fell by almost a third to less than a million, the lowest total since 1984, leading to the loss of thousands of jobs.

Production fell by 29.3% compared to the previous year, down to 920,928 units, with similar impacts on the domestic and overseas markets, said the Society of Motor Manufactur­ers and Traders (SMMT).

Commercial vehicle production fell 15% and the number of engines built slumped by 27%. The SMMT said a fall in car production of 2.3% in December rounded off a “dreadful year”, with auto manufactur­ers hit by the impact of the coronaviru­s crisis as well as uncertaint­y for most of 2020 about a Brexit trade deal.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said job losses last year by carmakers and supply chain firms were around 10,000 and manufactur­ing was “severely disrupted” with lockdowns and social distancing measures restrictin­g factory output, Brexit uncertaint­y continuing until Christmas Eve and depressed overseas demand.

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