British commercial vehicle (CV) production rose 27.6% in the best April since 2016, with the output alone growing 58.0% for export markets.
Market Continue to Show Improving Fortunes within UK Commercial Vehicle Production
April represented the fourth consecutive month of growth for the sector, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 7,879 working vehicles, from vans and taxis to trucks, buses and coaches, left production lines, with the pre-planned ramp-up of key models following COVID-related reductions surpassing expectations.
Growth was driven by a 58.0% increase in the number of vehicles built for export, with 4,723 units heading overseas. Production for the UK remained relatively stable, down by just 32 units (-1.0%) year on year. Meanwhile, the percentage of exports increased from 48.4% in April 2021, to 59.9%. Over the year to date, more than half (57.1%) of CVs produced have been exported, with more than nine in 10 of them (92.4%) destined for the EU.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, welcomed the news, commenting: “Thanks to significant demand from overseas markets, our CV output has not only increased on last year but has surpassed even pre-pandemic levels. This is testament to the resilience of manufacturers and evidence of the role the sector can play in the UK’s long-term economic recovery.”
Cautiously, however, he noted: “There remain, however, significant challenges behind these headline figures, with the ongoing global shortage of semiconductors and the war in Ukraine impacting the global industry. Most pressing, however, is the soaring energy costs and rampant inflation. The Government must act urgently if we are to secure the future competitiveness of this critical sector and the jobs and livelihoods it supports.”