UK car production fell sharply last month, marking the worst July performance for the industry since 1956, a trade group has said. The global microchip shortage, staff being affected by the so-called pingdemic, and shutdowns meant just 53,438 cars were built in the month.
That was a drop of 37.6% compared to July last year, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said. It comes as sales of second-hand vehicles are soaring.
Overall car production in the year to date is almost a fifth higher than during 2020 at 552,361 vehicles, but that is still 28.7% down on 2019 pre-pandemic levels.
SMMT boss Mike Hawes said the July figures “lay bare the extremely tough conditions UK car manufacturers continue to face. While the impact of the ‘pingdemic’ will lessen as self-isolation rules change, the worldwide shortage of semiconductors shows little sign of abating,” he said.
Electric car batteries with range similar to internal combustion engines and which can charge in as little as 12 minutes are among projects awarded over £91 million of government and industry funding announced on the 18th August to develop the latest green automotive technology.
Four projects have been awarded funding through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) Collaborative Research and Development competition, which supports the development of innovative low carbon automotive technology. Together they could save almost 32 million tonnes of carbon emissions, equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 1.3 million cars, and secure over 2,700 jobs across the country.
These innovations will address motorists’ concerns about adopting electric vehicles by cutting charge times and boosting driving range. They will help to make electric vehicles more affordable, efficient and convenient.
Toyota is to slash worldwide vehicle production by 40% in September because of the global microchip shortage. The world’s biggest carmaker had planned to make almost 900,000 cars in September, but has now reduced that to 540,000 vehicles.
Volkswagen, the world’s second-biggest car producer, has warned it may also be forced to cut output further.
The Covid pandemic boosted demand for appliances that use chips, such as phones, TVs and games consoles.
German firm Volkswagen, which cut output earlier in the year, told Reuters: “We currently expect supply of chips in the third quarter to be very volatile and tight. We can’t rule out further changes to production.”
Toyota’s other rivals, including General Motors, Ford, Nissan, Daimler, BMW and Renault, have already scaled back production in the face of the global chip shortage.
Until now, Toyota had managed to avoid doing the same, with the exception of extending summer shutdowns by a week in France the Czech Republic and Turkey.
A NORTH-East engineering firm has been given £14.6m to develop a carbon-free hydrogen engine, protecting 640 jobs in Darlington.
The Government-backed Brunel project is being led by Darlington-based engine maker Cummins. It is aimed at developing a hydrogen engine, designed to replace existing large diesel engines in road haulage
Jonathan Atkinson, executive director of Cummins On-highway Business in Europe, said the project meant hundreds of jobs in the town would be maintained, with workers able to up their skills.