UK commercial vehicle (CV) manufacturing output increased by 33.3% in April following two months of decline, with 10,504 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches produced, according to the latest figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). In a sign that recent supply chain shortages are easing, production ramped up to deliver the best-performing April since 2010.1
Growth was driven by a 56.3% increase in the number of vehicles produced for export, with 7,382 units – or seven in 10 vans produced – heading abroad, with the European Union remaining the sector’s biggest overseas customer responsible for 94.4% of exports.2 Increasing local production for a greater range of brands also added a boost to output. Production for the domestic market remained relatively flat declining by just -1.1% to 3,122 units.
Manufacturing output is now up 9.0% in the year to date at 36,114 units, with exports in the first four months ahead by 16.2% at 21,990 units – the best YTD performance since 2012. Production for the UK, meanwhile, remains down, by -0.7% to 14,124 units. Overall production volumes, however, are expected to increase further throughout the year, reflecting easing supply chain constraints and new electric van manufacturing coming on stream.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,
It’s good news to see the commercial vehicle market bounce back – surpassing even pre-pandemic levels – to deliver the best April performance in 13 years. This is healthy growth driven by significant demand from overseas markets, namely Europe, highlighting the need to protect this trade, which is critical to our ongoing success. For growth to continue, however, government must introduce measures, which not only invite investment and reduce the erratic energy costs which threaten our competitiveness, but also find a sensible solution to the rules of origin challenge faced by manufacturers.
1 CV output, April 2010: 10,777 units
2 CV exports to Europe, April 2023: 6,965 units