According to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), UK car production fell 9.7% in August, following six consecutive months of growth, as 45,052 models rolled off factory lines.
Traditionally, August tends to be the month with the lowest production volume of the year, often marked by variable summer shutdowns.
These can result in significant percentage fluctuations.
August’s output was in part affected by extended production pauses at some plants for planned maintenance and upgrades as car makers gear up to produce the next generation of electric vehicles.
Production for the domestic market declined by more than a quarter (25.2%), while output for export fell by a less pronounced 5.5%, equivalent to 2,150 units.
The decrease was driven largely by a decline in shipments to the US, China and Japan, down 58.6%, 24.5% and 37.8% respectively.
The EU, meanwhile, remained the UK’s biggest global market with almost six in 10 exports heading for the bloc (57.9%), representing an 11.5 percentage point uplift in shipments from last year after volumes rose 17.8%.
In the year to date, overall production continues its double digit gains, rising 11.8% to 571,671 units.
Both home and export volumes are up in the first eight months of the year, by 2.5% and 14.4% respectively.
The production of the most recent and environmentally friendly vehicles maintained its positive trajectory, marking the 14th consecutive month of growth.
August showed combined volumes of electrified vehicles rose, albeit modestly, by 2.8% to represent nearly two in five (36.6%) of all cars made, equivalent to 16,511 units.
Since January, car makers have turned out 216,922 of these crucial vehicles, an uplift of 84,310 on the previous year, evidence of the UK’s capability to be a leader in zero emission production.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “After six straight months of growth, a decline in UK car output in what is always the smallest and most variable volume month, is not a cause for concern”.
“With car manufacturers taking advantage of the summer holiday season to upgrade their plants, this is part of an ongoing commitment to deliver the next generation of electric vehicles, with a record number of these models already being made”, he adds.
However, he insists that to secure future investments, business certainty is necessary, particularly an agreement between the UK and the EU.
“In order to delay tougher rules of origin that would damage the competitiveness of eVehicles in both the European and British markets and concrete details from the UK government on the regulation compelling the sale of EVs in Britain”, he details.
Both are due to commence in less than 100 days and “are essential to business planning and investment for 2024 and beyond”.