After a healthy 17.2% increase in October, the commercial vehicle market saw a decline of 7.8% compared to November 2020. With 7,940 commercial vehicles (CV) produced, this is a decline of 4.4% compared to the pre-pandemic five-year average, in figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Commercial Vehicle Market Stagnates as Semiconductor Shortage, Coupled with Covid-19 Bites
In the weakest November since 2017, semiconductor shortages and Covid-19 problems have undeniably continued to damage the market. The decline was driven by a -16.4% fall in the number of CVs built for export, whilst the domestic market grew marginally by 4.5%. During the first eleven months of 2021, the share of exported CVs has decreased by almost five percentage points, from 56.4% to 51.5%. At the same time, domestic demand has grown – albeit against weak demand in 2020 – given gradual economic recovery and high demand for online deliveries.
For the year-to-date, there have been 66,753 units produced - an increase of 12.2% over 2020 levels, partly thanks to increased output earlier in the year. However, output remains -16.6% down against the five-year pre-pandemic average.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said of the results, “After significant growth in the sector for October, November’s decline in light commercial vehicle output is disappointing. The impact of the global shortage of semiconductors cannot be overstated and coupled with increasing uncertainty over the pandemic, the months ahead will be difficult.”
Looking to the positives, Hawes concluded, “The UK’s automotive manufacturers are resilient and will continue to do all they can to keep factory lines operational over the coming months.” With such an optimistic outline, this will enable the latest and most environmentally friendly CVs to hit UK roads running.