UK commercial vehicle (CV) production grew 35.6% in the first month of 2023, with 9,299 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches leaving factory lines, according to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). January’s strong output marks the best start to a year since 2012, when 9,844 units were produced, and reflects the determination of manufacturers to get back on track following the pandemic and latent supply chain challenges.
Growth in the month was driven primarily by exports, with 5,326 units produced for international markets. More than half of all British-built CVs (57.3%) set sail for abroad, with the EU, which remains the UK’s biggest overseas customer, responsible for 91.8% of these exports.1 The domestic market also recorded growth, with output up 36.2% to 3,973 units.
Volumes are expected to increase significantly throughout the year, notably as new models begin production and a major new electric van manufacturing plant comes on stream – a boost which is set to see UK CV output surpass 160,000 units in 2023.2
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,
The UK’s commercial vehicle sector continues to show resilience, surpassing the previous ten years of January output even in the face of global supply shortages and soaring energy costs. To ensure this success continues, we need a framework which secures globally competitive conditions and underpins the delivery of sustainable manufacturing, rapid decarbonisation and economic growth to keep Britain ahead in the race to net zero.
1. January export figures for Europe: 4,891 units
2. Based on SMMT development of AutoAnalysis light vehicle outlook