The coronavirus pandemic could result in 200,000 fewer cars being built in the UK this year, the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has warned.
With all car manufacturing plants now on shutdown as the country focuses efforts on overcoming the crisis, an initial assessment commissioned by SMMT of the potential impact of these shutdowns suggests a loss of around 200,000 units by the end of 2020, just under 1.1 million, and a fall of 18% on 2019.
The trade body has warned that the impact could be far more severe if the lockdown lasts longer than a few weeks and goes into the summer. They also called on the government to release funding to support them through these difficult times.
Despite the lockdown, carmakers have supporting the national effort by producing essential medical equipment, sustaining delivery of essential supplies, providing and maintaining emergency services vehicles and transporting key workers.
Last week, MG Motor UK announced it will supply up to 100 electric MG ZS cars to NHS agencies across the UK during the pandemic.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘Despite the myriad global challenges the UK automotive industry has faced in recent times, it remains fundamentally strong and February’s figures reflect that.
‘However, these figures also reflect the calm before the storm. With UK car plants now effectively on national shutdown and many global markets closed, the outlook is of deep concern.
‘We wholeheartedly welcome government’s extraordinary package of emergency support for businesses and workers, but this must get through to businesses now.
‘If we’re to keep this sector alive and in a position to help Britain get back on its feet, we urgently need funding to be released, additional measures to ease pressure on cashflow and clarity on how employment support measures will work.