Production halted in April while PPE production took over
A shocking fact has revealed that the impact of lockdown was similar to that of WWII in terms of car production.
As Britain came to a halt, so did the car manufacturers. However, it’s not all doom and gloom as many manufacturers were still very busy during April with producing PPE (personal protection equipment) for those on the front lines of the pandemic. Doctors, nurses, carers and many other vital workers during the pandemic desperately needed PPE at the height of the outbreak and automakers answered the call.
British car production fell a staggering -99.7% according to SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) member research conducted in May 2020. At the time of recording, SMMT noted that a whopping 711,495 pieces of PPE had been produced but during April 2020, just 197 cars were produced.
Last year in April 2019, 70,971 cars were produced, marking a year-on-year change of -99.7%.
Monthly records only date back as far as January 1946 which marked 6,319 cars produced which was the lowest month on record, up until now. However, the yearly output for 1943 was just 1,649 which is just 137 units each month when equally divided into 12.
This stark comparison highlights just how extreme the effect has been on the UK during the COVID-19 lockdown. As a great majority of businesses were placed on pause, production and output ground to a halt and in the case of the car industry, that halt saw a near-100% reduction in productivity, closely resembling war-time figures.
Of the 197 cars that were produced in April 2020, virtually all of them were premium, luxury and sports cars and over 75% of them were for export markets. These specialist cars only needed finishing touches done to them for them to be completed and were already assembled before lockdown began.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,
“With the UK’s car plants mothballed in April, these figures aren’t surprising but they do highlight the tremendous challenge the industry faces, with revenues effectively slashed to zero last month. Manufacturers are starting to emerge from prolonged shutdown into a very uncertain world and ramping up production will be a gradual process, so we need government to work with us to accelerate this fundamentally strong sector’s recovery, stimulate investment and safeguard jobs.”
“Support to get all businesses through this short-term turmoil will ensure the UK’s many globally-renowned brands can continue to make the products that remain so desirable to consumers the world over and, in turn, help deliver long-term prosperity for Britain.”
The cost to the automotive industry this year is expected to be around £12.5 billion not only due to the period of ceased production but also due to the much slower rate of production once production plants can reopen.
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