Despite all the fall-out from a potential hard Brexit, British commercial vehicle manufacturing grew by 8.5 per cent in 2018, with 84,888 units leaving production lines, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The increase in output follows weaker performances in 2016 and 2017, while strong market incentives ahead of model changes also played a part in boosting output.
British domestic demand increased by 17.9 per cent last year, with an additional 5,248 CVs built for UK operators. Meanwhile, exports grew, up 2.9 per cent to 50,320 units. Almost six out of every 10 vans, trucks, taxis and buses built in the UK in 2018 were exported. Here lies in a very serious figure with some 93.6 per cent of those going to EU countries and just 2.3 per cent destined for Asian markets.
In the height of the Brexit mayhem, December finished the year on an exceptional high, with commercial vehicle output up 79.2 per cent as production for home and exports experiencing significant increases, up an amazing 175.6 per cent and 40.1%. While the rise in production is considerable, it follows two years of decline in the month and a slow start to 2018, illustrating the dangers of drawing conclusions from a single month’s performance.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, Commercial vehicle production ended 2018 on a very positive note, with strong deals ahead of some important model changes securing significant growth in December resulting in a boost to annual volumes. The boost follows two years of declining output, and low volumes at the beginning of the year. With Europe accounting for more than nine out of every 10 commercial vehicles we export, it is clear that maintaining a beneficial trading relationship with the EU is critical. This means securing a deal that will allow this vital sector to continue to thrive.