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UK car output suffers worst October for 65 years

November 15, 2021

UK car production fell by more than 40% last month, the lowest level since October 1956.

The Association of Automobile Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) stated that the reason for the decline was "a global shortage of semiconductors caused production shutdowns."

It added that compared with last year, the closure of the Honda Swindon plant at the end of July exacerbated this decline.

"These numbers are very worrying," said Mike Hawes, CEO of SMMT.

He added that they "show how severe the global semiconductor shortage is hitting British automakers and their suppliers."

New cars usually contain dozens of microchips — also known as semiconductors — but the shortage puts pressure on many automakers, who directly compete with technology companies and the consumer electronics industry for supply.

Why is there a shortage of chips?
The UK produced 64,729 cars in October, a year-on-year decrease of 41.4%. SMMT said this is the fourth consecutive month of decline.

Mr. Hawes said: “The UK’s automotive industry is resilient, but with the recovery of Covid in some of our largest markets and the extension or even disruption of the global supply chain, the urgent challenge of maintaining the industry’s operations is huge.”

The transformation of traditional gasoline and diesel vehicles continued, and the output of pure electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles accounted for 30.9% of the total vehicle output in October.

SMMT said that the production of pure electric vehicles increased by 17.5% to 8,454 units.

"So far this year, British automakers have produced more than 50,000 zero-emission vehicles, surpassing the total production in 2019 before the pandemic," it said.

The UK has stated that it will ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2030, and ban the sale of hybrid cars by 2035.

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