UK car production declined by 41.4% in October as factories turned out 64,729 units, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
It was the fourth straight month of decline and the weakest October since 1956 as car makers blamed the global shortage of semiconductors which led to production stoppages.
Despite the overall decline, battery electric (BEV) manufacturing rose 17.5% to 8,454 units, meaning that, so far this year, UK car makers have produced more than 50,000 zero emission vehicles, exceeding the total built in the whole of the pre-pandemic 2019.
Production of BEV, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid (HEV) vehicles comprised 30.9% of all cars made in October.
Year-to-date output is below 2020, down 2.9% to 721,505 units, compared with a year badly affected by factory stoppages arising from the first lockdowns.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes commented: “These figures are extremely worrying and show how badly the global semiconductor shortage is hitting UK car manufacturers and their suppliers.
“Britain’s automotive sector is resilient but with Covid resurgent across some of our largest markets and global supply chains stretched and even breaking, the immediate challenges in keeping the industry operational are immense.
“Government can help the industry with measures to boost competitiveness in line with global rivals, notably in tackling high energy costs, supporting employment and training, and helping businesses whose cashflow is under pressure from these historically poor production numbers.”