UK car production slumps as chip shortage bites
UK car production slumped last year to lows not seen since the 1950s, industry data showed on Thursday.
According to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, annual UK car production fell 9.8% in 2022 to 775,014 units. That is 40.5% fewer than the 1.3m cars made in 2019, before the pandemic, and the lowest level since 1956.
The SMMT blamed the slump on ongoing global semiconductor shortages and "structural changes", which led to the loss of production at two volume manufacturing sites. Supply chain disruption, caused by stringent rolling lockdowns in China, also played a part.
However, UK factories were still able to turn out a record 234,066 battery, plug-in hybrid and hybrid electric vehicles during the year, with combined volumes ahead 4.5% year-on-year.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "These figures reflect how tough 2022 was for UK car manufacturing, though we still make more electric vehicles that ever before.
"The potential for this sector to deliver economic growth by building more of these zero emission models is self-evident. However, we must make the right decisions now. This means shaping a strategy to drive rapid upscaling of UK battery production."
Looking to the current year, SMMT said it expected UK car and light van production to increase 15% in 2023, to 984,000, as semiconductor shortages ease. But UK plants are not expected to reach 1m annual vehicles until at least 2025.