UK car production declined in 2017, according to the latest figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
1,671,166 vehicles rolled off production lines last year, a -3.0% decrease on 2016 and the first decline for eight years – but still the second highest output in 17 years.
A -9.8% fall in output for the domestic market drove the overall decline, as the market responded to declining business and economic confidence and confusion over government’s policy on diesel. Exports also fell, though at a much lower rate, by -1.1%. Overseas demand continued to dominate production, accounting for 79.9% of all UK car output – the highest proportion for five years.
The SMMT findings also showed the Nissan Quashai was the number one best seller worldwide, with the MINI and Honda Civic closely behind.
The news comes as UK Automotive restates the need for an urgent agreement on the terms of a post-Brexit transition deal. This must be comprehensive, result in no change and allow business to continue as usual until a new trading relationship with the EU is in place. This means maintaining the UK’s membership of the single market and customs union and addressing critical details that, if ignored, could have a damaging effect on the industry’s competitiveness.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said; “The UK automotive industry continues to produce cars that are in strong demand across the world and it’s encouraging to see growth in many markets. However, we urgently need clarity on the transitional arrangements for Brexit, arrangements which must retain all the current benefits else around 10% of our exports could be threatened overnight.’