UK commercial vehicle (CV) production volumes surged higher in June 2015, thanks in part to a surge of buying ahead of new type approval regulations. The peak figure of 9.821 units seen in June 2015 was 50% higher than production in May 2015 and was unlikely to be equalled this year.
And so it transpires. UK CV production totalled 7,686 units in June 2016, 21.7% lower than during the same period last year and down slightly from May‘s figure of 7,748 units.
Total CV production so far in 2016 is 2.2% lower than during the first six months of last year, thanks to a 7% slump in domestic demand.
These figures would have been worse were it not for continued strong export demand. Export sales are up by 2.7% so far this year, which suggests to me that at least some eurozone economies are continuing to grow:
Commenting on the figures, Mike Hawes — SMMT chief executive — said that they emphasised the importance of EU export markets to the UK automotive sector:
“Disruption to fleet renewal patterns triggered by type approval changes last year meant manufacturing output spiked by more than half in June 2015.1 As a result, this year’s June performance was always going to be negative so the drop is no surprise.
“The market remains at a high level, buoyed by continuing resurgence in key EU markets, with more than half of UK CV output sold overseas. Maintaining the competitive trading conditions currently afforded by EU membership, including free access to major international markets, will be critical to this sector’s future performance.”
I believe these figures should be seen in a relatively positive context. June’s volume of 7,686 units is 21% higher than the 6,348 units produced two years ago, in June 2014. That’s solid progress given the mixed economic conditions in the UK’s export markets.