24 January 2015

UK Vehicle & Engine Manufacturing Overview : 2014

Car manufacturing: UK car production ended on a high. It was expected to deliver strongly all year but a major export market (Russia) suffered a reversal. At the end of November 2014, a slight decrease for a year that promised much. A very good 27% in December saved the day, with the local market soaking up an extra 50%. There is no detail as to why but the new Land Rover Discovery Sport comes to mind. In the end, the best car production total since 2007 for the UK.

Car exports: To see where the exports go, the chart below compares 2007 and 2014. Russia has less of the pie now, with China making taking up the slack. With the Qashqai production soon to commence in Russia, that will only continue the trend with Russia. A JLR plant is now ramping up production in China, so that will slow or halt increase there. Future growth will be a challenge.

Commercial vehicle production: What has been decimated is UK commercial vehicle volume. The departure of the Ford Transit van was a blow, the final effects showing on the chart below. The main producers now are GM (with the Vivaro van) and Leyland DAF trucks. Bus makers are doing well but low in volume.

Engine production: Finally engines, the largely unseen part of the picture. Ford is a massive engine maker in the UK, but reduced sales in Europe would account for the decrease in exports. One would expect that to improve in 2015. UK MINI production was down in 2014, so that may be a factor for the UK being so poor.

Summary: 2015 looks better but not by as much as it could have been. Russia will still see reduction, but new models such as the Discovery Sport and Jaguar XE will be positive. Modest growth can be expected.

Data source: SMMT.

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