UK car production fell to its lowest level since 1956 last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, with just under 860,000 new cars leaving British factories in 2021.
Production was 6.7% lower than in 2020, when the first wave of Covid and associated lockdowns forced several factories to shutter, and a full 34% below its pre-pandemic level.
The drop in production was principally due to a global microchip shortage and disruptions caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Electric and hybrid car production rose almost 30% and made up nearly a quarter of all cars built in the year, while van production was also strong, with output recovering to just 3% shy of its pre-pandemic level.
While the SMMT noted there was cause to be optimistic about the future after 2021’s “dismal” performance, with the announcement of new investment worth £4.9bn into the sector, triggered by the signing of a Brexit deal with the EU, it also warned high energy costs could pose a problem for carmakers in 2022.