18 September 2021

UK Production : 2019-20 (By Brand)

After some years of very good increases in production volume in the UK, several factors came together to scupper the gains being made. Apart from the almost total apathy from their fellow citizens for supporting UK workers (which has been ongoing for some time), the following are some obvious reasons.

JLR moving all the latest models it has recently introduced offshore was a major reason. Nissan pulling back on volume over the past couple of years as it gave up chasing sales in Europe was another. Opel / Vauxhall repositioning itself as a smaller producer yet another.

Looking to the future, Honda has now closed its operation which will take another 8% out of the picture. Vauxhall will soon become a 100% van producer, which will push it exclusively into the commercial vehicle chart. That will be slightly better than the current car production at Ellesmere Port but not when compared to a few years back. 

Is there any good news? For 2020 MINI, Toyota, Bentley and Lotus were comparatively successful in maintaining volume. Suzuki sourcing the Swace model from the UK was the best news, albeit a minor contribution. That is the sort of co-operation the industry lacks, although more differentiation between it and the Corolla wouldn't go amiss. 

Commercial vehicle production was more robust with a -16% result. The numbers aren't big but better than nothing. Stellantis make Opel / Vauxhall, Peugeot and Citroën vans at Luton and that total comes in one dollop. it accounted for 75% of the total and will rise when the aforementioned switch at Ellesmere Port eventuates. 

Leyland DAF trucks and LEVC electric taxis didn't fare too well but Dennis Eagle is soaring. Optare opted to switch to the Switch name for its electric bus operation at Leeds. Wrigthbus in Northern Ireland disappeared off the chart but I'm sure it still operates. 


  1. Hi, small detail but the PC 2019 total prod is missing from your first table.

    Indeed this is Sad days for the UK car industry. Partly well deserved (both national (Brexit) and company level (GM fleeing, Nissan all the messin'up) ) with a few exceptions (JLR's model range did not justify such a downfall).
    Altogether 900.000 PC is insane, the Czech Republic and Slovakia makes more cars each...

    "Nissan pulling back on volume" is still a concept I can simply not accept. They did nothing spectacular to change their reputation. If they increase prices they will simply die out.

    1. Hi, Thanks for mentioning the figure missing.

      While Carlos Ghosn was in charge, his philosophy was push volume. He did it with all brands within the company. When he was ousted, it resulted in a change of policy and all the brands lowered sales.

    2. My impression was that Carlos Ghosn first had developed very competitive models and than produced good sales volumes. It was a natural process.

      Lowering sales is just withdrawing from economies of scales. My impression was that "lowering volumes" are always more challenging as the company had fixed costs tailored for better times, and the lower sales will not be paired with higher prices, as Nissan would need better models too. They would need more upmarket models, and in fact things went downhill with Saikawa.

      The examples that came to my mind are Alfa under Marchione, who gradually deconstructed the 159, first striking the 5 and 6 cylinder engines and many options, and than the entire model.

      Ghosn became successful on its own (with Nissan) and then could work on synergies.

    3. It's a fine line between volume and profit. Product is a very important part of that. Mr Ghosn was good at pushing volume and also getting profit. Whether that strategy was sustainable we won't know because everything was changed in that regard after he was removed from his position.