In January we were delighted to bring news to you about how the automotive industry had hit record levels in the previous 12 months.

By the end of December 2016, 1.72m new vehicles had rolled off productions lines in the UK and exports had reached a record high with 1.35m cars being shipped abroad.

Today, however, statistics from the SMMT illustrate that April 2017 experienced a reduction in new car sales by 20% compared to the same period last year. As a result, new car production dropped 18% and automotive manufacturers are in reserve of vehicles.

There has been a 7% reduction in new car sales in the UK alone. The SMMT is attributing this dip to the late arrival of the Easter bank holiday which is usually a time when new car sales increase. “Car production fell significantly in April due to the later Easter bank holiday weekend, which reduced the number of active production days that month, and also due to unplanned production adjustments,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT.

Automotive sectors remains healthy

In spite of this, the automotive landscape remains positive and the industry is set for another record breaking year. Despite the fears surrounding the impacts of Brexit, demand is being driven by foreign markets. Export has increased 3.5% in 2017 and overall, 600,000 cars have been built in the year to date, reflecting a 1% increase compared to the same period in 2016.

The overall, broader trend for British car manufacturing remains healthy. The SMMT is expecting the number of cars to be produced by 2020 to reach more that 2m, surpassing the record set in 1972 of 1.92m. Much of this will depend on the negotiations of Brexit, a “hard Brexit” could result in the cost of assembling a car increasing by £2,370 which could lead some manufacturers looking to move production elsewhere.

Plus Point managing director Mark Sweeney said “The automotive manufacturing industry remains in good health. We remain on course for another fantastic year. There are new models beginning to roll out of the forecourts which will help increase sales in the second and third quarter of the year.”

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