UK commercial vehicle (CV) production increased to 7,892 units in October, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). October’s growth in output of 17.2%, the highest uplift since June this year, follows a weak October 2020 where operators delayed fleet renewal due to issues relating to the pandemic and uncertainty over a no-deal Brexit.
October’s rise was driven by domestic demand, which grew by 29.8%, whilst the number of CVs built for export also increased, but by a more modest 6.8%. Throughout 2021, export share has decreased from 56.1% in 2020 to 51.3%, with output for UK buyers continuing to accelerate faster than those abroad.
Year-to-date, some 58,813 CVs have been produced, an increase of 15.6% against a Covid hit 2020. When compared to the five-year pre-coronavirus average, however, output remains -18.0% down, with ‘pingdemic’ staff shortages earlier in the year and the ongoing impact of the semiconductor shortage, both resulting from the global pandemic, continuing to constrain CV production.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Significant growth in CV production during October comes as welcome news, but it must be viewed in context against a weak month in 2020. The sector is not immune from the ongoing challenges caused by the pandemic and, most notably, the semiconductor shortage and there remains plenty of uncertainty in the months ahead. UK manufacturers are committed to doing all they can to keep production lines operational, getting more of the latest, cleanest CVs onto our roads, and boosting fleet renewal which will go a long way to improving air quality in urban areas.”