UK car output falls 10% in Oct. as Brexit uncertainty mounts

November 29, 2018 16:32 CET

LONDON — Car production in the UK dropped 9.8 percent last month, hit by continued uncertainty around Brexit and market turbulence at home and abroad, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

The number of cars built in Britain fell to 140,374 in October, down 15,255 on a year ago, the SMMT said in a statement on Thursday.

“Europe is our largest trading partner and securing the right Brexit agreement which allows free and frictionless trade is vital for the future health of our industry,” SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said.

Brexit risks

The government admitted on Wednesday that any Brexit variant would be worse for the economy than staying in the European Union but said a no deal scenario would seriously hit future growth.

The comments were echoed by the Bank of England which said the economy could shrink by as much as 8 percent in about a year if no agreement is reached and the country is forced to adhere to World Trade Organization rules – something opposed by automakers.

A survey released on Wednesday by the SMMT found three quarters of businesses in Britain’s automotive sector thought leaving the EU without a transition deal would hurt them.

Production for the home market dropped for the fifth consecutive month in annual terms, the SMMT said, although this represents only a small part of the market as most cars are exported.

Overall, the number of cars built during the first 10 months of 2018 stands at 1.31 million — down 6.9 percent compared with the same period in 2017.

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