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UK Car Production Worst Since 1956: SMMT

UK car production decreased in 2021 to its lowest level since 1956, data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, or SMMT, showed on Thursday.

Car production dropped 6.7 percent to 859,575 units, the worst total since 1956. This was down by 61,353 from the previous year and 34 percent below pre-pandemic 2019.

Nonetheless, British car factories produced a record number of battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid electric vehicles in 2021.

In December, car manufacturing decreased 12.7 percent annually. Production for foreign market plunged 15.4 percent and that for domestic market slid 4.1 percent.

The lobby said the overall poor performance can be attributed to several factors, most of them direct consequences of the pandemic. The shortage of semiconductors was the major cause for the decline, as factories have to reduce or even pause production.

Manufacturers also wrestled with staff shortages arising from the need to self-isolate and depressed demand with car showrooms closed for months due to lockdowns and despite the success of 'click and collect' services.

Global exports continued to be the foundation for UK car manufacturing, with some eight-in-ten cars made being shipped overseas.

Although annual production for overseas markets declined 5.8 percent to 705,826 units, volumes for the domestic market declined even more steeply, down 10.6 percent to 153,749, SMMT said.

The latest independent production outlook for 2022 forecasts UK car production to increase to more than one million units, representing a 19.7 percent increase on the 2021 total.

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