With 7,799 commercial vehicles produced during September, the increase was a modest 1.8% rise on 2020’s September. Exports on the other hand saw a 12.4% dip but a healthy 27.3% increase for the domestic market. This amounts to a 15.4% year-on-year rise against 2020, but, overall the market is decidedly weaker compared to the five-year average, in results released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Market Improving but Still Below Pre-Pandemic Levels
With UK commercial vehicle (CV) production increasing to 7,799 units in September, this is a modest increase but a far healthier state of affairs after August’s figures, where production dipped by 35%. In context, 2021’s September figure is still an 8% decrease on the pre-pandemic five-year average.
Over the year-to-date, production of CVs in 2021 has increased by 15.4%. However, this is on a weak 2020 and output remains down by almost a fifth (-19.5%) against the pre-Covid five-year average. This reflects the ongoing impacts of the semiconductor shortage, itself due in large part to the global coronavirus pandemic which constrained semiconductor output in many factories around the world.
The increase in output of commercial vehicles in September was driven by domestic demand increasing by 27.3%, meanwhile, the number of commercial vehicles produced for overseas markets declined by -12.4%. Over the course of the year, the export share has fallen from 56.3% to 51.5% of production as output for the home market has outpaced that for overseas markets.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Following last month’s decline in commercial vehicle production, the industry is back on track in September. This is particularly good news when viewed in context against last September, which was a strong month given the fulfilment of several large fleet orders. The sector is not out of the woods yet, however, and it still continues to face challenges, primarily from the global shortage of semiconductors, which is set to continue into next year.”