UK commercial vehicle production output surpasses pre-pandemic levels

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UK commercial vehicle (CV) production was up by 57% in the first quarter of 2022, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Data shows that 25,268 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches rolled out of British factories in Q1, including 10,130 units in March alone, a year-on-year increase of 64.3% in the month.

Last month also saw CV production finally exceed pre-pandemic levels, up 11.3% on 2019’s performance, equating to 1,032 more vehicles built as manufacturers ramped up production.

Growth over the first three months of the year was driven largely by a 70.5% uplift in exported CVs, with some 5,873 more units heading overseas, while domestic production also increased by a notable 42.6%.

More than half (56.2%) of all CVs produced this year have been shipped abroad, with 94.4% of those headed to the EU.

During March, exports almost doubled, growing 95.1%, while the percentage of CVs built for UK operators also increased by 33.6%

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Despite the challenges the UK automotive industry continues to face, most notably the global shortage of semiconductors, commercial vehicle manufacturing output is still resolute.

“Significant demand from both home and overseas for the latest and greenest working vehicles continues and will be aided by new model and technology releases throughout the year.

“Competitiveness, however, is far from assured and action must be taken now to reduce the potential impact of rising energy and inflation costs, to encourage investment and the long-term future of the sector.”

The UK’s CV production figures were in stark contrast to those for cars. The ongoing global shortage of semiconductors and other components saw almost 100,000 fewer cars produced by UK manufacturers in Q1, compared to the same period last year.

UK car manufacturing declined by a third (32.4%) during the first three months of 2022.

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