Brexit: Plea to avoid ‘devastating’ no-deal as UK car industry sees worst September in 25 years

Brexit: Plea to avoid ‘devastating’ no-deal as UK car industry sees worst September in 25 years

Britain’s car industry had its worst September in 25 years, with a decline in the number of vehicles being exported to Europe and the US.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said 114,732 were produced during the month – 5% down when compared to September last year.

Car production for the year is down 35.9% and is expected to fall below one million vehicles for the first time since 1999.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “These figures are yet more grim reading for UK automotive as coronavirus continues to wreak havoc both at home and in key overseas markets.”

Domestic demand, which accounted for 27,199 vehicles, was 14.5% higher than a year earlier but most of the cars made in Britain are exported.

The number of cars sent to the EU was down 3.3% and the number sent to the US was down 30% compared with September 2019.

Exports overall were down 9.7%.

Mr Hawes pleaded with the government to reach a trade deal with the EU so that cars from Britain could still be exported to the bloc’s countries tariff-free.

He said: “With the end of transition now just 63 days away, the fact that both sides are back around the table is a relief but we need negotiators to agree a deal urgently, one that prioritises automotive, enhances innovation and supports the industry in addressing the global threat of climate change.

“With production already strained, the additional blow of ‘no deal’ would be devastating for the sector, its workers and their families.”

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