UK Commercial Vehicle Production Up, Bucking Overall Trend

The UK’s new commercial vehicle sector has experienced its best May (and year to-date) performance for a decade, bucking an overall trend of declining new vehicle production.

According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), production was up 26.5% in May. 7,900 vehicles emerged from factories across Britain that month, the highest number since 2012.

Exports in particular performed strongly, the figures showing a 91.6% increase on last year’s data. The majority of commercial vehicles built here now end up overseas – 67.9% to be precise. 91.8% of those were exported to the EU.

May represented the fifth consecutive month of year-on-year increases, indicating a buoyant recovery for the sector following the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Overall, production has increased 44.0% in the year to-date.

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “The CV sector is a rare beacon amid the gloom of economic challenges being faced by businesses and fleet operators in the UK.

“With the best year to May output for a decade, and a growing number of zero emission commercial vehicle models for a wider range of use cases, there are grounds for optimism.

“However, competitiveness is not guaranteed as rising energy costs and inflation continue to have a detrimental impact on manufacturers and markets.

“These issues must be tackled head-on, to enable investment in innovation and training that will drive the CV sector’s transition to net zero, future-proofing jobs and livelihoods for years to come.”

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