Car Production in U.K. Drops to 5-Year Low

January 31, 2019 at 12:38 AM

British assembly plants built 1.52 million vehicles in 2018, down 9% from the previous year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. December output plummeted 22%.

The U.K. exports more than 80% of the cars it builds, mostly to Europe. Production of cars for the domestic market plunged 16% last year.

SMMT blames the slump on regulatory changes, uncertainty about diesels and growing concern that the U.K. will exit the European Union at the end of March with no agreements in place to avoid tariffs and supply chain disruptions.

Separately, the trade group notes that investment in the British auto industry shrank 47% to £589 million ($773 million), the lowest since at least 2012. SMMT cites fears about the prospects for British trade after Brexit.