UK CAR PRODUCTION SOARS – Industry warns of looming brexit rules ‘threat’

UK carmakers have recorded their best September since 2020 – but warned growth is “under threat” from new Brexit export rules due to come into force within months.

More than 88,200 vehicles rolled off factory lines in September, an increase of over 25,100 – almost 40% – compared to the same time last year, figures published on Thursday reveal.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) described the period as a “triple success”, as it was also the sector’s strongest month of growth in 2023 so far and the best results for a September in three years.

The industry body said the rise was driven by a 32% growth in exports – with almost six in 10 vehicles going to the EU. Output of electric vehicles (EV) also soared by 41.5%.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes hailed the figures as “particularly strong” and “good news for the UK, given the thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment that depend on the sector”.

However, it comes only months before new “rules of origin” Brexit trade regulations are due to come into force in January 2024.

Under the measure, 45% of the value of an EV must originate in the EU or UK for it to avoid being slapped with a 10% trade tariff.

The target is harder to achieve for electric cars and vans, as most manufacturers rely on batteries produced in Asia and the components comprise a large proportion of the total value of such vehicles.