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Automotive sector feeling the Brexit bite

Engine, car and commercial vehicle production fell significantly in April as factory shutdowns normally scheduled for the summer holidays were brought forward to mitigate Brexit.

According to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), British car manufacturing output fell by almost half in April, engine manufacturing fell by nearly a quarter, and commercial vehicle production dropped by over 70 per cent.  

Almost 71,000 cars rolled off UK production lines in April, around 57,000 fewer than expected for the time of year.  

The drop was caused by most volume manufacturers rescheduling summer production stoppages to mitigate against the uncertainty of the original 29 March Brexit deadline. Understandably, the shutdowns had a knock-on effect on engine manufacturing. 

The SMMT said the rescheduling activity - which cannot be repeated again for the new 31 October deadline - was part of a raft of costly and ongoing contingency measures, including stockpiling, rationalisation, training for new customs procedures and re-routing of logistics - all designed to try to protect business. 

The decline is expected to ease by the end of the year, but only if a favourable deal and substantial transition periodis agreed with the EU, the SMMT warned. 

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, commented: 

[The] figures are evidence of the vast cost and upheaval Brexit uncertainty has already wrought on UK automotive manufacturing businesses and workers. Prolonged instability has done untold damage, with the fear of no dealholding back progress, causing investment to stall, jobs to be lost and undermining our global reputation. 

For help and support on how to plan for the possible outcomes of Brexit, visitwww.businessgrowthhub.com/brexit. 

 

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