UK car production down 27% in August amid ongoing chip shortage

Only 37,246 cars rolled off production lines in the UK in August 2021, but EVs and hybrids took a record market share

Production line

Car production in the UK fell 27 per cent year-on-year in August 2021 as the semiconductor shortage continued to hinder the automotive industry.

A total of 37,246 cars rolled off production lines during the month, down from 51,039 in August 2020, marking the second consecutive month of decline. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), who released the figures, both the ongoing global shortage of semiconductors and a series of extended summer factory shutdowns by some manufacturers played a role in these results.

The good news is that alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) - including electric, conventional hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars - reached a record-high market share, making up 27.6 per cent of all cars built. So far this year, UK factories have turned out 137,031 AFVs - 51,679 more than in the same period last year.

Furthermore, overall production for the UK market was up 3.3 per cent in August. Production for the export market, however, fell 32.5 per cent, as demand in Australia, the US and China declined 74.9 per cent, 65.7 per cent and 58.7 per cent respectively.

Production in the year-to-date for 2021 remains up 13.8 per cent at 589,607 cars, 83.2 per cent of which have been for the export market. While this figure is favourable compared with Covid-hit 2020, though, it’s down 32 per cent on 2019 and 42.8 per cent down on the five-year average for this period.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “Another significant decline for UK car production is extremely worrying both for the sector and its many thousands of workers nationwide.

“While not the only factor at play, the impact of the semiconductor shortage on manufacturing cannot be overstated. Car makers and their suppliers are battling to keep production lines rolling, with constraints expected to continue well into 2022 and possibly beyond.

“Job support schemes such as furlough have proven such a lifeline to automotive businesses, yet its cessation today comes at the worst time, with the industry still facing Covid-related stoppages, which are damaging the sector and threatening the supply chain in particular. Other countries have extended their support; we need the UK to do likewise.”

Subscribe to Auto Express for the best car news and reviews...

Recommended

2022 Geneva Motor Show cancelled due to ongoing Covid-19 pandemic
Geneva
Geneva Motor Show

2022 Geneva Motor Show cancelled due to ongoing Covid-19 pandemic

Geneva show cancelled for three years running but hope for 2023 return remains
7 Oct 2021
UK new car sales stagnate in September but 33,000 electric cars are sold
Tesla Model 3 - front
News

UK new car sales stagnate in September but 33,000 electric cars are sold

Electric cars increase their market share but semiconductor shortage means another gloomy month for the car industry
5 Oct 2021
Bank holiday traffic expected to return to pre-Covid levels
Traffic
News

Bank holiday traffic expected to return to pre-Covid levels

Congestion is expected over the August bank holiday, but drivers plan on staying closer to home
24 Aug 2021
Over 5.5m cars had MoTs delayed under Covid extension
MOT testing station
Consumer news

Over 5.5m cars had MoTs delayed under Covid extension

More than a fifth of drivers took advantage of MoT extension, with motorists warned MoT bookings will be in high demand this September
8 Aug 2021

Most Popular

Friends reunited: buying back a Porsche 911
Porsche 911
Porsche 911 Coupe

Friends reunited: buying back a Porsche 911

How perfect timing led a Porsche 911 fanatic to buy back his old car
14 Oct 2021
New Ford Focus unveiled with 2021 facelift and tech updates
Ford Focus ST Line - front
Ford Focus Hatchback

New Ford Focus unveiled with 2021 facelift and tech updates

Ford has given the Focus hatchback a refresh for 2021, with a new design and an improved infotainment suite
14 Oct 2021
New Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2021 review
Skoda Kodiaq SportLine - front
Skoda Kodiaq SUV

New Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2021 review

The seven-seat Skoda Kodiaq SUV gets styling tweaks and tech upgrades in facelift
15 Oct 2021