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UK car production almost wiped out by Covid-19 in April

By Sean Farrell

Date: Friday 29 May 2020

UK car production almost wiped out by Covid-19 in April

(Sharecast News) - UK car production was almost wiped out by the Covid-19 shutdown in April as factories produced less than 200 cars, industry figures showed.
The number of cars made fell 99.7% to 197 from 70,971 a year earlier, the SMMT trade body said. The cars that left factories in April 2020 were assembled before the lockdown and required only finishing touches, SMMT said.

Though factories are beginning to restart production of vehicles, restrictions will mean 400,000 fewer cars than planned made in 2020 at a cost of up to £12.5bn based on factory gate prices, SMMT said.

The industry received good news on Thursday when Nissan said its plant in Sunderland, which employs about 7,000 people, would reopen for the long term after worries that it might close because of Brexit.

April's figure for car manufacturing, which employs 168,000 workers, was the lowest since the second world war. Production so far in 2020 is down 27.6% with 121,811 fewer cars built.

Mike Hawes, SMMT's chief executive, said" "With the UK's car plants mothballed in April, these figures aren't surprising but they do highlight the tremendous challenge the industry faces, with revenues effectively slashed to zero last month.

"Manufacturers are starting to emerge from prolonged shutdown into a very uncertain world and ramping up production will be a gradual process, so we need government to work with us to accelerate this fundamentally strong sector's recovery, stimulate investment and safeguard jobs."

The contrast between April 2020's shutdown and the year before would have been greater if April 2019 had not been exceptionally weak. Production almost halved in that month as carmakers tried to mitigate the impact of an expected Brexit date at the end of March.

SMMT said many car factories switched production to make personal protective equipment in April. Carmakers have produced almost 712,000 pieces of PPE including face shields, visors and medical gowns during the crisis.


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