Commercial vehicle manufacturing in the United Kingdom saw a sharp decline of 19.9 per cent in April, marking the second month in a row of falling production. The latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals that only 8,413 vans, trucks, taxis, buses, and coaches were produced that month.

Despite the recent slump, the sector's long-term performance remains robust. Compared to April 2019, CV production has skyrocketed by an astonishing 289.1 per cent. This remarkable growth is attributed to significant investments and an unusually low output during April 2019, which was impacted by model changeovers at major production plants.

UK commercial vehicle production, April 2024

Export markets took a hit, with production for international destinations down by 24.1 per cent. A total of 5,601 units were shipped abroad, making up 66.6 per cent of the month's total production. The domestic market also experienced a dip, though less severe, with a 9.9 per cent reduction translating to 310 fewer units compared to the previous year.

According to the SMMT, the decline in April is largely attributed to temporary supply chain disruptions and a normalisation of market conditions following the surge in demand post-Covid. However, the outlook for the year remains positive.

Year-to-date figures paint a more optimistic picture, with total production up by 13.6 per cent, reaching 41,039 units – the best performance for the sector since 2010. This growth has been driven predominantly by strong export demand, which is up 30.3 per cent compared to the same period last year. In the first four months of 2024, 70 per cent of commercial vehicles produced were destined for export, with the EU accounting for a significant 96.8 per cent of these exports.

"A second consecutive month of decline for British commercial vehicle production is disappointing, but with supply chain shortages likely to be temporary and BEV production still set to rise, we expect a return to growth in the latter half of the year," Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented. "The sector remains in good health, however, thanks to strong demand from overseas markets."