2021 proved a strong year of recovery for commercial vehicle production, with an overall rise of 11.3%, or 73,600 units. Although this is 14.4% down on the pre-pandemic five-year average, the rise is a good step for the industry, as production for the UK saw a 27.3% rise and output for the overseas market saw a 0.6% dip, in the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Market Moves in a Healthier Direction After Poor 2020
The 11.3% increase in 2021 was a good sign for the industry, as 2020 levels were the worst since records began in 1933. In total, there were 73.600 vehicles which included vans, trucks, taxis and buses, that left the production floor, rigid 2 axle trucks and vans were the big drivers for 2021, with the home deliveries sector continuing to soar during the various lockdowns put in place throughout the year.
Catering for the global semiconductor shortage and the continued uncertainty from the pandemic, the market has shown resilience in maintaining component supplies to keep production lines running.
Looking to the end of the year, December ended the year well, with a 3.2% increase in output. Overall, production for the UK increased by 27.3%, while manufacturing for overseas markets remained relatively stable, with just a 0.6% decline. Despite this, more than half (51.2%) of all output was exported, with the bulk heading to EU markets – a 93.2% export share.
While the overall increase this year is positive news for the industry, 2021’s performance is still -14.4%, or some 12,356 units, down on the five-year pre-pandemic average.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “After the worst year in a lifetime, the growth in production for commercial vehicles during 2021 is extremely welcome. Despite a plethora of challenges, manufacturers have remained operational throughout the year. The sector isn’t out of the woods yet, however, and challenges remain for 2022. Support will be necessary to ensure the supply chain can overcome ongoing semiconductor-related shortages as well as measures to ensure energy costs do not rise to an extent that it significantly undermines competitiveness."