Although below pre-pandemic levels, British commercial vehicle production rose 92.2% in the latest Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures, although this is still a 10.3% drop on pre-pandemic levels.
Significant Rise for February Showcases Improved Market Prospectives
February 2021 was a particularly poor month, with the worst figures on record, with 4,308 units in total as supply chain shortages, new customs processes and prolonged lockdown measures. With 8,278 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches registered for February, the market is showing signs of rebounding, although February 2019 was a stronger month, with 9,233 units rolling off the conveyor belt.
Putting the two months into perspective, there were 15,138 produced for 2022, against 9,924 units by this the end of February last year.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said of the figures: “After a challenging couple of years for UK commercial vehicle manufacturing output, it’s encouraging to see recovery as operators in key markets around the world get back to business. Demand for British-built working vehicles remains strong, and recovery will be aided by new models and technologies.”
Commenting, however on the problems he noted that “ongoing chip shortages, now exacerbated by a global squeeze on other key components and raw materials, alongside rising inflation and cost of production, will make getting back to pre-pandemic levels that much tougher”.
Concluding, he argued, “To secure long-term competitiveness and growth for this critical sector, we need the government to take urgent action to mitigate crippling energy costs and encourage investment.”