UK car output ends six-month growth streak in August – SMMT

(Reuters) – Britain’s car output slipped in August from a year earlier, snapping a six-month growth streak, as manufacturers paused production to prepare for a shift towards next-generation electric vehicles (EV), an industry body said on Thursday.

Last week, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak watered down Britain’s plans to tackle climate change, and said he would delay a ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans to maintain the consent of the British people in the switch to net-zero.

“A decline in UK car output in what is always the smallest and most variable volume month is not a cause for concern,” SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said in a statement.

A total of 45,052 units rolled out of factory lines in the country in August, a 9.7% decrease from the year earlier, according to data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Combined volumes of electrified vehicles rose 2.8% in August, the data showed.

Manufacturers used the summer holidays to an advantage to upgrade their plants as part of a commitment to deliver next-generation EVs, SMMT said.

Last week, Britain’s main manufacturing trade body Make UK cut its forecast for the sector’s growth for this year and next, citing a sharp fall in factory output and economic uncertainty due to rising interest rates, cost of living and slowing overseas markets.

The UK’s car industry, a significant driver of manufacturing and exports, has recently seen consistent growth in output as global chip shortages ease, while EV sales have remained robust.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews and Prerna Bedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar)