2 minute read - 2nd August 2022
British commercial vehicle production growth continues
UK commercial vehicle (CV) production grew 64.4% in June with 9,549 new vans, buses, trucks, coaches and taxis leaving British factory lines, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). June production volumes were the highest since 2015 and 32.7% above the pre-pandemic five-year average, resulting in the sector’s sixth consecutive month of increased output.
Growth has largely been driven by overseas demand, with exports of British-built CVs jumping 133% year-on-year in June – now representing nearly six in 10 (58.1%) units – with some 92.5% of exports destined for the EU. Domestic demand, which remained more robust during the pandemic last year, increased by 16.7%, with year-on-year growth in four out of six months in 2022.
In comparison, UK car production continues to see a challenging backdrop but with supply chain shortages beginning to ease, SMMT said there was cause for optimism as June was the second consecutive month of increased car production, up 5.6% with 72,946 units built. Overall output remains -33.2% below 2019 levels but despite this more than £3.4bn of investment in the automotive sector has been announced so far in 2022, fuelling hopes of continued progress during the rest of the year.
The strong performance means total output in the year to date reached 50,596 units, up 47.4% on 2021 and 16.6% above the pre-pandemic five-year average. As a result, output from January to June was the highest since 2012, as CV manufacturers ensure there is capacity to build these critical vehicles amid a boom in demand from businesses and operators renewing their fleets.
The UK’s commercial vehicle sector has been a consistent bright spot amid the gloom experienced by the automotive industry. Its global competitiveness is, however, not guaranteed. It is crucial that inflation and energy costs are tackled with urgency, particularly as manufacturers continue to invest in production of the latest zero emission vehicles.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The CV sector’s best first half performance in a decade is evidence of its resilience, as manufacturers strive to ensure orders for these vehicles, which are critical to the UK economy, are delivered in a highly challenging economic environment.
“At the same time, manufacturers are committed to building a growing range of more fuel efficient and zero emission vans, trucks, buses, coaches and taxis, an essential step towards achieving net zero, while ensuring society can continue to move. We must protect the global competitiveness of the sector amid these challenges, however, starting with measures to tackle energy costs, so that the UK continues to be among the world’s leading manufacturers for these vital vehicles.”