UK CV production down in February

UK commercial vehicle production declined -13.6% in February, with 7,980 vans, trucks and buses manufactured, according to the latest figures released today (27 March) by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The performance follows a bumper February in 2019 when output grew by more than half ahead of key model changes, and reflects the cyclical nature of this low volume sector.

Slower demand in key European markets saw production for export fall -26.2% in the month, with 1,670 fewer units shipped overseas. Meanwhile, following five months of decline, output for the domestic market returned to growth, up 14.6%, with 3,279 vans, trucks and buses built for UK operators.

The news comes amid widespread plant closures across the UK as manufacturers respond to the coronavirus pandemic. While CV production in the UK is largely expected to be on shutdown for the coming month, the sector is striving to ensure component production and the provision of maintenance services for essential transport, delivery and emergency service vehicles can continue.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The UK’s commercial vehicle sector is critical to the fight against coronavirus, working night and day to deliver food, medicine and other essential goods and services to support society’s most vulnerable and help prop up the economy.

“Government’s pledge of emergency finance and other measures to help protect these businesses and workers during the crisis has been widely welcomed but it is now about getting that relief to all companies in the fastest time possible.

“Meanwhile, additional provisions for official road-approval testing to get even more essential vehicles in service and supporting the national effort must also be implemented urgently,” Hawes added.