The ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Brexit fallout and weak demand all conspired to result in the fourth consecutive month of decline in UK commercial vehicle production, according to the SMMT.

UK CV manufacturing fell 31.5% in January, with 5,616 units rolling off the production lines, marking the worst start to the year since 2015.

The SMMT said manufacturing was subdued both for domestic and international markets, down 28.8% and 33.6% respectively.

More than half (53.2%) of all CVs made were shipped abroad, reinforcing the importance of global trade for UK CV makers, the trade group added.

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“After a sharp fall in CV production last year, it’s disappointing to see output fall again at the start of 2021,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

“With so many jobs at stake and a real need to secure investment for this essential sector, next week’s Budget is an opportunity for the Chancellor to deliver a shot in the arm to the industry.”

The results follow what the SMMT said was the worst year in a lifetime, with commercial vehicle manufacturing plummeting by 15.5% in 2020 and the lowest output since 1933.

“We need the right conditions that will boost business confidence and address depleted order books across the industry, which means an extension of the CJRS furlough scheme, a review of business rates to incentivise manufacturing investment and improved fiscal measures to support uptake of the latest alternatively fuelled commercial vehicles,” Hawes added.