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UK car production fell by nearly half in April

Brexit is largely to blame for the production drop off.


With the uncertainty of Brexit looming large, British car manufacturing fell by nearly half in the month of April, new data shows.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), British car makers built just 70,971 vehicles in April, representing a 44.5 percent decline from the same month a year earlier. April also marked the 11th consecutive month of vehicle production decline in the UK.

The SMMT cites Brexit as a major factor in the sharp decline. The UK was set to exit the European Union on March 29, so most automakers bumped up plant shutdowns that typically occur during the summer months to ease the transition. Automakers used that downtime to train employees for new customs procedures and for the reworking of logistics.

Softening demand is also partially to blame. Sales of British-made cars have slowed in several key regions, including the United States and China. As a result, production of UK vehicles bound for other markets fell by 44.7 percent during April.

Unfortunately for British automakers, the uncertainty of Brexit remains. The deadline for the UK's exit from the EU has now been extended to October 31, meaning April's poor results could play out again this fall.

Year-to-date British car manufacturing has fallen by 22.4 percent. However, that figure is bleaker than reality since most automakers have already taken their summer shutdowns. Even still, UK car manufacturing is expected to be off by more than 10 percent this year.

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