31 JANUARY 2022


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Article from BTNews 31 JANUARY 2022

Dramatic car production drop

Cars last year did not roll off the production lines in anything like the numbers in times past.

Deliveries have plunged to their lowest level in 65 years as factory closures, the global shortage of computer chips and manufacturers’ uncertain transition to lower-emission and fully-electric cars took its toll.

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “It was a dismal year. There is no hiding it. It is deeply depressing”.

In 2021, Britain’s car assembly plants produced only 859,000 vehicles, down 6% on the 920,000 produced in the first year of the pandemic in 2020. UK factories are producing a third fewer cars than in 2019 and barely half the numbers of the most recent high in 2017 before manufacturers turned off the investment tap into Britain in the wake of Brexit uncertainty.

The last time Britain produced this volume of cars was in 1956, prior to the launch of the country’s best-selling Mini and before the opening of Vauxhall’s factory at Ellesmere Port and the Ford plant at Halewood.

The 2021 figures show that Jaguar Land Rover saw production slump to 220,000, less than half the previous number.

The Nissan plant in Sunderland, which had been running at full tilt at more than 500,000 units a year, saw its output plunge to 204,000.

Honda closed its Swindon assembly line earlier in the year, which had a capacity to produce 250,000 cars a year.

With Vauxhall Astra production being run down at Ellesmere Port before its new owners, Stellantis, turn it into a Peugeot, Citroën and Fiat electric van plant, the Cheshire factory produced just 27,000 cars.

There was good news over 2020.  BMW’s Mini plant in Oxford was up 6% to 183,000 as the assembly lines started rolling off the new electric Mini. At the Toyota hybrid Corolla plant in Derbyshire volumes rose 7% to 124,000.


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