The latest data on car manufacturing in the UK shows a worrying continuation of the trend over the past 18 months, which has seen the number of cars rolling off the assembly line fall again in the month of November.
The month saw a 16.5% drop in cars produced in factories in the UK, with 107,753 vehicles produced down from 129,030 in the comparable period last year according to figures produced by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The majority of cars produced in the UK are for the export market, and those targeted for overseas sales fell by 14.2 percent while those built for the domestic market slumped by an alarming 26.6%. The numbers have been skewed by many firms suspending production on 31 October due to worries over a no-deal Brexit. Even so, a fall in domestic demand and reduced export orders also played their part.
The fall in production is also likely to have a serious effect on the supply chain. Over 186,000 people are employed in manufacturing and supply to the car industry including many firms providing specialist processes. Electroless Nickel Plating is one such process often associated with high performance vehicles and other industries. Details of the process and its uses can be found online at sites such as electroless nickel plating.
Fortunately, the range of uses of Electroless Nickel Plating means companies specialising in the process are not over-reliant on the car industry.
Although car manufacturers will be alarmed by the November figures, they will be more concerned about recent trends. April, for example, recorded a staggering 44.5 percent fall in output when Brexit worries were at their height.
With the industry in the UK export led, all eyes are on the new government and its plans for a trade deal with the EU. Eight out of ten cars produced in the UK are sold abroad and the majority of these go to countries within the EU. Industry insiders are lobbying the government to negotiate a tariff-free deal and minimise barriers. Such a deal is necessary to ensure the prosperity of the sector the SMMT has warned.
Failure to achieve such an outcome could mean the UK industry losing 1.5m vehicles in output by 2024, costing the economy £42.7bn according to figures produced by the SMMT.