UK commercial vehicle production best in a decade

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UK commercial vehicle (CV) production grew by 39.3% in 2022, with 101,600 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches produced, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The sector recorded its best annual output since 2012, up 29.8% on 2019’s pre-pandemic production figures, despite global part and component shortages, logistics challenges, and economic and political disruption.

This compared starkly to UK car production which was at its lowest level for 66 years

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “British CV manufacturing’s best annual performance in a decade is testament to the determination and agility of the sector, which continued to meet strong demand despite extremely challenging operating conditions.

“However, long-term success is contingent on the sector’s ability to remain competitive in the global race to net zero.

“Support to bring down soaring energy costs, encourage investment in zero emission technologies, and equip our talented workforce with the right skills to deliver these vehicles, will be essential in keeping the nation and economy on the move.”

Output for the domestic market rose by 14% year-on-year to 40,409 units, but overall growth was driven largely by export demand, with vehicles built for overseas markets up 63.4% to record their highest share of production (60.2%) since 2017.

Europe was undoubtedly the UK CV sector’s biggest overseas customer, responsible for 92.8% of all total exports (56,812 units).

Meanwhile, 1,336 CVs were shipped to Asia, 1,240 went to the US, and 1,060 to Australia and New Zealand combined.

Looking ahead to 2023, volumes are expected to grow significantly, notably on the back of new model activity and an increase in electric van production. This boost is set to see manufacturing surpass 160,000 units in 2023.

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