UK car manufacturing falls for fourth consecutive month in August

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The number of cars manufactured in Britain fell for a fourth consecutive month in August, as demand from both the domestic and the international market waned.

A total of 103,232 cars rolled off production lines across the UK last month, representing a fall of 5.3 per cent on the same month in 2016, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) today.

Production for the domestic market dropped 4.4 per cent to 26,594, while output for overseas customers was down 5.6 per cent to 76,638.

That takes total production for the first eight months of 2017 to 1,106,285, which represents a decline of 1.9 per cent on the same period in 2016. The SMMT said that the domestic market for production has now been down during seven of the last eight months.

“It’s common to see fluctuations during the summer months, as output varies according to the timing and duration of holiday factory shutdowns,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT.

“However, the continuation of the longer term downward trend in domestic demand is a concern for production across the UK so it is vital for the future health of this sector that the current uncertainty around Brexit is removed and consumer and business confidence are restored.”

The UK manufacturers export cars to more than 160 different countries around the world, according to the SMMT, and that international exposure has led to the SMMT being one of the most vocal trade bodies opposed to Brexit. 

In June the body warned of “permanent damage“ and “death by a thousand cuts”, with Britain facing a surge in the price of new cars from Europe by as much as £1,500 depending on the outcome of negotiations.