Car production falls again as industry says it’s ‘all but impossible’ to be ready for a Brexit deal

The number of cars made in the UK has fallen again, but the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says the situation could worsen regardless of whether there is a Brexit trade deal.

Car production fell by 1.4% in November to 106,243, with more than four out of every five cars built being destined for export.

In the 11 months to November, total UK car production was down by 31% compared with the same period in 2019, representing a loss of 380,809 models at a cost of around £10.5bn to the sector, said the SMMT.

For only the second time since the early 1980s, the industry is expected to produce fewer than a million cars this year.

And if there is no Brexit trade deal agreed, the SMMT said the industry could see further production losses amounting to £55.4bn over the next five years.

But, even if there is a deal, the organisation said it was now “all but impossible” for the industry to be ready in time.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Yet another decline for UK car production is of course concerning, but not nearly as concerning as the New Year nightmare facing the automotive industry if we do not get a Brexit deal that works for the sector.

“With just nine days to go, the threat of no deal is palpable and the sector, now also reeling from the latest coronavirus resurgence, Tier 4 showroom lockdowns and disruption at critical UK ports, needs more than ever the tariff-free trading arrangements on which our competitiveness is founded.

“It is finally make or break time, as being forced to trade on WTO terms would be a hammer blow for many automotive businesses, workers and their families, so we must get a deal, and one that avoids the devastation of punitive tariffs for all automotive products, from day one.

“For the long-term survival of UK Automotive, there is quite simply no other option.”

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