Car production in the UK slumped again in May, with output falling 15.5% compared to the same month a year ago, making it the 12th consecutive month of decline.
Last month, 21,239 fewer cars were manufactured in the UK, according to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The global slowdown in car sales is hurting both foreign and domestic demand for new cars from Britain, both of which declined by double digits in May. The SMMT said that with eight out of every ten cars made in the UK destined for foreign markets, frictionless free trade post-Brexit is more important than ever.
“Twelve consecutive months of decline for UK car manufacturing is a serious concern and underlines yet again the importance of securing a Brexit deal quickly,” said SMMT CEO Mike Hawes. “The ongoing political instability and uncertainty over our future overseas trade relationships, most notably with Europe, is not helping...”
Hawes reiterated his statement from Tuesday, that leaving the EU without a trade deal was “not an option.”
He warned at the SMMT auto industry conference on Tuesday that leaving the bloc without a deal could cost car manufacturers in Britain up to £50,000 a minute due to border delays to shipments. It “would trigger the most seismic shift in trading conditions UK automotive has ever experienced,” Hawes said.
Germany’s Center for Automotive Research Institute said this month that Donald Trump’s trade war with China, coupled with the weakening Chinese economy, is tipping the industry into a massive crisis. It predicts that demand for new cars will drop by 4 million units in 2019 compared to the previous year.