The UK new commercial vehicle production sector has enjoyed its best first six months of a year in a decade, according to new data. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show the number of vans, trucks, buses and taxis produced in the UK in the first half of 2022 was up by almost 50 percent on the same period last year.

In total, more than 50,000 new commercial vehicles (CVs) were produced in the UK between the beginning of January and the end of June. That’s an increase of 47.4 percent compared with the 34,318 CVs built in this country during the same period last year, and it’s the highest output for the first half of a year since 2012.

The news comes as the latest production figures reveal output in June was up by almost two-thirds on the same month last year. More than 9,500 new commercial vehicles rolled off UK production lines last month, up 64.4 percent on the same month in 2021. Although it doesn’t sound like much compared with the 73,000 new cars built in the UK over the same period, it makes June 2022 the most prolific June for CV production since 2015.

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It also seals six consecutive months of growth for an industry enjoying rude good health compared with its cousins in passenger car manufacturing. The latest SMMT data shows UK new car production was down by almost a fifth during the first six months of 2022 – a shortfall attributed to the closure of the Honda factory in Swindon and the ongoing microchip shortage, as well as supply issues caused by the war in Ukraine.

However, the commercial vehicle sector seems to have overcome such challenges, achieving growth consistently throughout the first half of the year. The SMMT’s chief executive, Mike Hawes, said the result showed the sector’s “resilience”, but warned that the government must help “protect” the industry’s competitiveness if it is to continue to thrive.

“The CV sector’s best first half performance in a decade is evidence of its resilience, as manufacturers strive to ensure orders for these vehicles, which are critical to the UK economy, are delivered in a highly challenging economic environment,” he said. “At the same time, manufacturers are committed to building a growing range of more fuel efficient and zero-emission vans, trucks, buses, coaches and taxis, an essential step towards achieving net zero [emissions], while ensuring society can continue to move.

"We must protect the global competitiveness of the sector amid these challenges, however, starting with measures to tackle energy costs, so that the UK continues to be among the world’s leading manufacturers for these vital vehicles.”

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