The number of commercial vehicles, including vans, trucks and taxis, produced in the UK increased significantly in September, according to new figures. Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows last month was the best September for the sector in more than a decade.
Just under 12,000 commercial vehicles rolled off UK production lines last month – an increase of more than 50 percent compared with September last year. Not since 2011 have more commercial vehicles been built on these shores during the month of September.
The result also meant output has increased in each of the first nine months of 2022, leaving the sector looking much healthier than it did at this point last year. Over the first three-quarters of 2022, almost 77,000 new commercial vehicles were built in the UK – up from just under 51,000 during the same period in 2021.
Such a total means production is not just up compared with 2022, but output is also 21.5 percent higher than the average for the five years prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Compared with the first nine months of 2019, output is up by almost 45 percent.
That uplift has been largely driven by demand from abroad, with the number of vehicles produced for export markets increasing by 73 percent. That trend continued through September, when the number of export vehicles produced in the UK was up by just over 70 percent.
However, demand from domestic customers has been growing too, albeit at a slightly more leisurely pace. In September, the number of UK-built commercial vehicles destined for British and Northern Irish customers was up 32.9 percent, and output for the domestic market increased by 27.3 percent in the first nine months of 2022.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said the news came despite the headwinds facing the industry, and warned that long-term success would depend on the government keeping energy prices in check.
“In a sector that continues to face significant challenges, Britain’s commercial vehicle manufacturers have reacted with determination to deliver the best September in more than a decade,” said Hawes. “Significant demand from overseas markets not only demonstrates the appeal of UK-built CVs, but shows the critical role this sector plays in powering the UK economy. Long-term growth, however, will depend on operator confidence and a competitive business framework for manufacturers, so the new government must take a long-term approach, addressing high energy prices and other cost impacts that hold back investment.”