UK automotive output plunges to lowest degree since 1950s

London, July 30

British automotive manufacturing fell by greater than an annual 40% within the first half of the yr to the bottom degree since 1954 because the coronavirus pandemic shut factories and dealerships, an trade physique mentioned on Thursday.

Plants and retailers closed in March and just some regularly started to reopen from May with sure websites nonetheless shut and others not at pre-virus ranges.

The hit leaves output at simply over 3,81,000 vehicles, the bottom degree since 1954, when Winston Churchill’s authorities ended meals rationing imposed as a part of the World War Two effort.

In 2020, the trade expects to churn out simply over 8,80,000 vehicles, a 3rd decrease than in 2019 in what can be the worst efficiency for over 60 years, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) mentioned.

“Our factories were once set to make two million cars in 2020 but could now produce less than half that number, a result of the devastating effects of the pandemic on top of already challenging market conditions and years of Brexit uncertainty,” mentioned SMMT CEO Mike Hawes.

But introduced funding within the first half of the yr rose from 90 million kilos ($117 million) in 2019 to 485 million kilos thanks primarily to Nissan, which is because of construct its new Qashqai in Britain.

Alongside the pandemic, the sector faces the problem of investing in electrification, the fast decline in demand for diesel fashions and is apprehensive that Brexit might create commerce limitations with its largest export market.

Some within the trade have sought a scrappage scheme, final launched in 2009, to guard jobs after hundreds have been shed in the previous couple of months.

“We have a proposal,” mentioned Hawes. “We think we can arrive at something which would be a net benefit to the Treasury.” Reuters

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