A total of 53,438 new cars were built in July, with 8238 produced for the UK market and 45,205 shipped overseas, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). These figures represent a decline of 38.7 per cent for the UK market and a decline of 37.4 per cent for cars exported out of the country, which the company says is the worst July performance since 1956.

Issues caused by summer factory shutdowns, global semiconductor shortages and the pandemic have all contributed to the decline. Despite this, year-on-year production remains up by 18.3 per cent. However, this figure is still 28.7 per cent behind 2019’s pre-Covid-19 levels when 774,760 cars rolled off production lines. Electric, hybrid and plug-in models achieved a record market share of 26 per cent, with the UK producing 126,757 examples since the start of the year.

“These figures lay bare the extremely tough conditions UK car manufacturers continue to face,” Mike Hawes, chief executive at SMMT, said. “While the impact of the pandemic will lessen as self-isolation rules change, the worldwide shortage of semiconductors shows little sign of abating.

“The UK automotive industry is doing what it can to keep production lines going but the government can help by continuing the supportive Covid measures currently in place and boosting our competitiveness with a reduction in energy levies and business rates for a sector that’s strategically important in delivering net-zero emissions.”

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