British car manufacturing output declined 37.6% in July, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, with just 53,438 units made last month.
The drop represented the worst July performance since 1956 as manufacturers were forced to deal with the global shortage of semiconductors, summer shutdowns and staff shortages due to the “pingdemic”.
Production for the UK market declined 38.7% to 8,233, while manufacturing for export also fell 37.4% to 45,205 vehicles shipped. Exports accounted for 84.6% of vehicles built in July.
Of all cars made last month, 26% were either battery-electric, plug in hybrid or hybrid electric – their highest share on record.
However, despite the July drop, overall year-to-date production remained 18.3% higher on Covid-19 hit 2020 levels at 552,361 units, but down 28.7% on 2019’s pre-pandemic figure of 774,760.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “These figures lay bare the extremely tough conditions UK car manufacturers continue to face. While the impact of the ‘pingdemic’ will lessen as self-isolation rules change, the worldwide shortage of semiconductors shows little sign of abating.
“The UK automotive industry is doing what it can to keep production lines going, testament to the adaptability of its workforce and manufacturing processes, but Government can help by continuing the supportive Covid measures currently in place and boosting our competitiveness with a reduction in energy levies and business rates for a sector that is strategically important in delivering net zero.”