It's one year since all UK automotive plants to close in mid-March 2020, after only 78,767 cars had left factory gates that month.
Compared with the five-year March average, production was down -22.8%, equivalent to a loss of 34,047 units, and some -32.1% lower than the 2017 record for the month. It rounds off a -4.0% decline in the first quarter of 2021 with 306,558 units produced, 12,694 less than a year before.
March output for the domestic market rose 19.4% to 20,269 units with exports also increasing, up 54.1% to 95,229 units. More than eight-in-ten (82.5%) cars were sent overseas in March, with shipments to major destinations rising dramatically compared with 2020.
Exports to the EU, US and Asia were all up in March. The EU remained the number one market for UK made cars, more than half (51.9%) of all exported cars. Meanwhile, combined output of BEV, PHEV and HEVs were 21.5% of all cars produced, up from 13.7% a year before, meaning 20% UK produced cars is now alternatively fuelled.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,
"The shift towards electrified vehicle production is fundamental to the future of this vital sector. Securing investment for this transformation will depend on the global competitiveness of our industry."