February 18, 2020

Turbulent year for CV manufacturing as output falls -7.8%

UK commercial vehicle (CV) manufacturing declined -7.8% in 2019, as model changeovers, variable fleet buying patterns and regulatory issues combined to affect production numbers. 

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show 78,270 units left production lines throughout the year.

The domestic market declined by -7.0% in 2019, with 2,408 fewer UK-built CVs joining British roads. Meanwhile, exports also dropped, down -8.4% to 46,110 units. Almost six out of every 10 vans, trucks, taxis and buses built in the UK in 2019 were exported, with 94.6% of those going to the EU, highlighting the vital need for a free trading relationship with the bloc. While Europe was by far the sector’s biggest overseas customer, British-built CVs were shipped to at least 57 different countries globally, including 619 units to Israel, 299 to Australia and 168 to Hong Kong. 

December finished the year on a positive note, however, as new model production ramped up. CV output rose 8.7%, with manufacturing for export rising by almost a third (30.5%). Meanwhile, continuing the trend seen in recent months, production for the home market declined -18.6%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “2019 was a turbulent year for British commercial vehicle production. With model changeovers now complete, we expect to see CV output bounce back this year, however, this is reliant on political and economic stability that supports domestic demand.”