UK commercial vehicle (CV) production grew 22.2% in the first month of the year, with 6,860 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches leaving factory lines, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Despite January’s output being a significant improvement on the same period in 2021 – when lockdowns affected demand at home and across Europe – it remained more than a quarter (25.3%) down on the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.
This January’s growth was driven largely by an increase in overseas demand as international markets started to get back to business, with production for export up by a third (32.1%). More than half of all CVs built in the UK last month were shipped abroad with the majority (57.5%) destined for the EU. Meanwhile, output for UK customers also rose, up 10.9%, reflecting the ongoing shift to online deliveries and broader economic recovery.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “The UK’s commercial vehicle sector has once again shown its resilience in the face of myriad challenges, most notably the global shortage of semiconductors. However, the challenges before the sector are immense; ongoing supply chain constraints, soaring energy costs, and highly ambitious zero emission targets require every measure be taken to secure the industry’s global competitiveness. The industry is investing in new technologies, but this investment must be matched with infrastructural investment and a long-term plan to enable it to deliver on our shared decarbonisation goals.”