U.K. Car Manufacturing Fell 3.3% in First Six Months of 2018

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(July 31): U.K. car manufacturing fell by 3.3 percent in the first half of 2018, as a drop in production for the home U.K. market more than offset increased shipments to locations including Japan and South Korea.

The results show the the importance of tariff-free trade as Brexit approaches, said Michael Hawes, chief executive officer of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. More than eight out of every 10 cars built in the U.K. are sent abroad, while more than two thirds of cars registered in the U.K. during first six months of the year came from the EU.

Brexit remains a concern, Hawes said, as the organization repeated its call for negotiators to back“free and frictionless trade,” according to a statement Tuesday. If Britain were to leave the EU without a trade deal, the U.K. auto industry would suffer “death by a thousand cuts” as eroding competitiveness makes it harder for companies to justify future investment in the country.

“The challenges that are coming are immense,” Hawes at an event Monday before the report was released. “This is one of the most uncertain points in the automotive industry’s future that we’ve ever had.”

Highlights

1H 2018 manufacturing down 3.3% to 834,402 units; June down 5.5% 1H demand for U.K.-built cars grew 77% in Japan; up 68% in South Korea June demand for cars built for home U.K. market down 47%; 1H down 13% June demand for cars built for export up 6%; 1H down 0.8% - Bloomberg