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British car manufacturing falls -14.4% in March as industry warns no-deal Brexit could send output back to 1980s levels

British car production declines for 10th month in a row, down -14.4% in March, with 126,195 units built

British car production declined -14.4% in March, falling for the 10th month in a row with 126,195 units rolling off factory lines, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Production for both home and overseas markets declined in double digits, down -18.1% and -13.4% respectively.

Continuing recent trends, soft demand in key Asian and European markets was a significant factor, coupled with model changes and shifting car segment preferences globally. Although UK exports fell in March, they increased their share of overall production year-on-year to 78.7%, demonstrating the crucial importance of free and frictionless trade.

The latest independent production forecast is also published this week illustrating what’s at stake for British car manufacturing following Brexit. Assuming a positive result to the negotiations with a favourable deal and transition period maintaining the status quo, UK car production could be 1.36 million units in 2019, down from 1.52 million in 2018, before rising to 1.42 million by 2021.

However, should Britain crash out of the EU and fall back on WTO rules for a sustained period, output is forecast to fall around 30% on recent levels to just 1.07 million units by 2021, a level consistent with the dark days of the mid-1980s.

Please click here to view the full press release.


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