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2 minute read - 3rd October 2023

UK commercial vehicle production up again in August

British commercial vehicle manufacturing grew 8.6% in August as 6,660 units rolled out of UK factories, according to new figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The best August volume for 11 years continues the positive trend, with a fifth consecutive month of rising CV output.

Increased output was driven primarily by UK demand, up 24.4% to reach 3,066 units, while exports declined by a marginal -2.0% to 3,594. Despite this, British commercial vehicle manufacturing continues to be export led, with 54.0% of all output heading overseas last month. The majority of these exports (91.8%) were shipped into the EU – highlighting the importance of stable, tariff-free trade with the bloc to ensure the sector continues to deliver long-term economic growth and well-paid jobs, and to attract further investment to the UK.

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British commercial vehicle manufacturing grew 8.6% in August as 6,660 units rolled out of UK factories – the most productive August since 2012 / Picture: Stellantis

In comparison, UK car production fell -9.7% in August, following six consecutive months of growth, as 45,052 models rolled off factory lines. The SMMT said this is typically the smallest volume month of the year with often variable summer shutdowns which can lead to large percentage variations. August’s output was in part affected by extended production pauses at some plants for planned maintenance and upgrades as car makers gear up to produce the next generation of electric vehicles.

In the year to date, UK commercial vehicle manufacturing has reached 74,188 units, a rise of 14.4% on 2022 – rounding off the best first eight months to a year since 2011 and some 62.2% above pre-pandemic levels. Exports have driven this impressive growth, up 23.0%, with 46,789 units exported representing 63.1% of everything made.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “2023 has been a success story for British commercial vehicle production, with robust demand from operators in the UK and overseas. With new electric van production now coming on stream, the immediate future is positive and we expect volumes to grow still further this year. To secure future investment, however, we need regulatory and trade certainty, not least a UK-EU agreement to delay tougher rules of origin that would damage competitiveness across the Channel. With the tougher rules due to commence in less than 100 days, time is of the essence.”

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