UK commercial vehicle (CV) production fell by 61.6% in May, with just 810 vehicles built as many plants remained shuttered amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

According to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), year-to-date commercial vehicle output fell by 29.8% compared with the first five months of 2019.

As some production resumed, 43.3% of commercial vehicles built were for export in May, with more than two thirds (68.7%) exported to the EU, following the gradual re-opening of showrooms in some European markets.

Read more

The SMMT warned that as the CV sector approaches restart there are significant concerns over cash flow and liquidity, with a recent SMMT survey revealing that 70% of automotive businesses are experiencing cash flow and liquidity problems.

The survey also revealed that a third of automotive employees are still on furlough and that up to one in six jobs are at risk of redundancy as the furlough scheme begins to taper.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “With many plants still shut and those open operating at reduced capacity, these figures illustrate the need for urgent support to drive a successful restart.

“Measures to drive demand, boost liquidity and facilitate short-time working as production ramps up are essential for light and heavy commercial vehicle makers as well as the struggling bus sector.

“Restoring operator confidence is key to fleet renewal and thus ambitions for a green recovery.”