shutterstock_221815459 (3)

Commercial vehicle manufacturing fell 15.5% in 2020, in what the SMMT said was “the worst year in a lifetime”.

Just 66,116 vans, trucks, taxis and buses left production lines, the lowest output since 1933.

Output in December was down 9.2%, rounding off a weak quarter and what the group added was “an awful year for the CV sector,” which churned out 12,154 fewer units than in 2019.

The SMMT said the pandemic,vsocial distancing measures and multiple lockdowns conspired to practically halt British manufacturing capabilities and demand, while uncertainty right up to the Brexit transition period dented business confidence.

It meant production for both the overseas and domestic markets declined 17.8% and 12.2% respectively.

While the EU was the biggest customer, with a 94.9% export share, 670 units were exported to Israel, 288 to Taiwan and 248 to Russia.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “2020 challenged commercial vehicle manufacturers beyond belief and, as the final figures show, reflect what has been the worst year in a lifetime for the sector.

“The pandemic hit markets across Europe while prolonged uncertainty threatened business confidence at home, as a potential no deal Brexit loomed over the industry for much of the year and was only put to rest on Christmas Eve.

“However, with the vaccine rollout now in full swing and the necessary clarity businesses need for cross-channel trading requirements now visible, there is hope for the future.”