The UK’s automotive manufacturing industry has recovered from its September decline, according to new data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A total of 69,524 cars left UK factories in October, a 7.4% improvement on the figure of 64,729 recorded in the same month last year.

It is also a 10.1% rise on the 63,125 units produced during September 2022, itself a 6.0% shortfall compared with September 2021’s 67,173 cars. This drop followed a run of four consecutive months of growth.

Electrified vehicles – battery-electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and parallel hybrid (HEV) models – accounted for more than a third of all cars produced in October, totalling 24,115 units. That represents an increase of 20.3% compared with October 2021.

Most of the cars produced in the UK during October 2022 were bound for export. The 56,469-unit export figure is a 6.3% improvement on the 53,121 total built during the same period last year.

Of these, the majority (54.9%) went to the European Union, although the volume of exports there declined by 2.7%.

Low-volume market Turkey was a region of significant growth. Production of vehicles for the Mediterranean state was up 1298.7% compared with October 2021.

Production for the home market increased from 11,608 cars to 13,055.

Despite the return to growth, UK car production faces a long road to recovery ahead. Year-to-date output reached 643,755 units by the end of October, a 10.8% decrease compared with the same point in 2021.

More troubling is the comparison of rolling-year totals with pre-pandemic figures. Between October 2021 and October 2022, some 781,821 cars were produced in the UK. This pales in comparison with annual figures recorded between 2016 and 2019, ranging from 1.3 million to 1.7 million.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes attributed this to “turbulent component supply”, echoing the comments of several chief executives from around the industry.

Before he stepped down as CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, Thierry Bolloré made a rare appearance to warn reporters that the chip problem will take “years” to resolve. The firm currently has an order bank of 205,000 cars.

The Volkswagen Group, like JLR, expects this to become the industry norm, but Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares is more optimistic, expecting a return to normality by the end of 2023.



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