• British car manufacturing declines -15.3% in February, with 123,203 units produced.
  • Production for home market falls for ninth consecutive month, down -11.0%.
  • Exports down by -16.4% as key Asian and European markets experience declines.
  • Automotive industry calls for cross-party consensus on a way forward that removes no deal threat, delivers frictionless trade and provides certainty for automotive businesses.

Thursday 28 March, 2019 UK car production fell by -15.3% in February, with 123,203 units manufactured, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Declining demand in the UK and in key European and Asian export markets resulted in output falling for the ninth consecutive month.

Production for home and export markets dropped year-on-year by -11.0% and -16.4% respectively. Year-to-date, overall output decreased -16.8%. While home demand fell -8.0%, the majority of the decline came from the fall in manufacturing for export, down by -18.9%. Weakening demand in key markets continued to affect output, with exports to China down more than half (-55.6%) and cars destined for the US down -2.8%. Meanwhile, production for the EU – the UK’s biggest customer – declined by -14.9%.

Although exports have declined in recent months, overseas demand continues to drive output, still accounting for nearly eight in 10 cars produced – more than half destined for the EU. This underlines the importance of securing a truly free and frictionless future trading relationship with our most important trading partner. The motor industry has been unequivocal about the impact of no deal, which would have an immediate and potentially irreversible impact on cost, productivity and competitiveness.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The ninth months of decline for UK car production should be a wakeup call for anyone who thinks this industry, already challenged by international trade hostilities, declining markets and technological disruption, could survive a ‘no deal’ Brexit without serious damage. A managed no deal is a fantasy. Uncertainty has already paralysed investment, cost jobs and damaged our global reputation. Business anxiety has now reached fever pitch and we desperately need parliament to come together to restore stability so that we can start to rebuild investor confidence and get back to the business of delivering for the economy.”





  • UK engine manufacturing down -7.0% in February, with 235,595 units built.
  • Double-digit drop in domestic output as manufacturers respond to market demand.
  • Proportion of engines built for export grows, highlighting the importance of frictionless trade.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “February’s figures reflect the uncertainty in the industry among buyers and manufacturers alike. Progress needs to be made in securing a relationship with the EU that safeguards international trade and frictionless access to overseas markets. It is shocking that manufacturers are still in the dark over what their international trading situation is going to be in just a matter of weeks.”


The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is one of the largest and most influential trade associations in the UK. It supports the interests of the UK automotive industry at home and abroad, promoting a united position to government, stakeholders and the media.

The automotive industry is a vital part of the UK economy accounting for £82 billion turnover and £20.2 billion value added. With some 186,000 people employed directly in manufacturing and 856,000 across the wider automotive industry, it accounts for 12.8% of total UK export of goods and invests £3.65 billion each year in automotive R&D. More than 30 manufacturers build some 70 models of vehicle in the UK supported by 2,500 component providers and some of the world’s most skilled engineers.

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