Car Production Skids Another 14% in U.K.

April 30, 2019 at 2:10 AM

Vehicle output in the U.K. shrank 14% to 126,200 vehicles in March, the 10th consecutive month of year-on-year decline, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The trade group says production dropped 18% to 26,900 vehicles for the domestic market and 13% to 99,300 for export. Light vehicle manufacturing in Britain through the first quarter of 2019 totaled 370,300 units, down 16%.

Shrinking markets in Europe and Asia hurt output. But SMMT blames much of the industry’s woes on the continuing havoc caused by Britain’s inability to agree on an orderly departure from the European Union.

SMMT predicts full-year output will slide 11% to 1.36 million vehicles in 2019, even assuming a smooth resolution to Brexit and transition period into next year.

The group forecasts that production will rise 4% to 1.42 million units by the end of 2021. It notes that before the U.K.’s Brexit vote in 2016, the British auto industry appeared on track to reach output of 2 million vehicles by 2020.