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The ‘pingdemic’ and a global semiconductor shortage are both standing in the way of a recovery in UK commercial vehicle production, with figures showing a 21% reduction on the pre-pandemic average.

The SMMT said 5,808 units rolled off the lines in June, an increase of 39.6% compared to the same month in 2020.

However, overall production for the first six months of 2021 was hampered by the UK-wide lockdown between January and March and then ongoing shortages in the supply chain.

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Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “After a tough start to the year, commercial vehicle production is steadily recovering against a backdrop of increased demand, but still remains short of previous years.

“The shortage of semiconductors continues to impact on output, and the sector faces a significant challenge as increasing numbers of workers find themselves being asked to self-isolate.

“However, van production levels remain strong, and recent long-term investment announcements will ensure the UK retains a healthy commercial vehicle manufacturing sector.”

The SMMT also said commercial vehicle exports fell to 48.1% of production, down from 57.4% over the average recorded before the pandemic.