Commercial vehicle production down in May

Commercial Motor
July 4, 2024


For the third consecutive month, UK commercial vehicle manufacturing levels fell in May. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported manufacturing was down by -59.3%. The drop is thought to be due to temporary supply chain issues which impacted the number of vehicles produced. In May 4,400 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches were manufactured. 


Last May commercial vehicle manufacturing experienced a strong production month, marking the best performance since 2008. This was in response to a post Covid boom in demand and a backlog of orders which were significantly delayed as a result of supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic. 


Vehicles manufactured for export made up two thirds of production in May at 68.8%. However, numbers on this front were also significantly down by -61.9% to 3,027 units. The majority of these exports were supplied into the EU, accounting for 95.9% of exports. For the domestic market 1373 units were produced, a decline of -52.2%.


The results from the fifth month of the year now show commercial vehicle production is down for 2024 -3.2% to 45,439 units. This equates to a loss of 1,492 units. Despite a low month overall, this hasn’t dented year-to-date export figures. For 2024, exports are up by 5.9% to 31,688 units and seven in 10 commercial vehicles produced here are supplied to other countries. Manufacturing to supply the domestic market shows a dip for this year so far. Output has declined by -19.1% which amounts to 13,751 units produced. As supply chain issues are resolved manufacturing is expected to pick up as the year progresses. 


Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Commercial vehicle production has gone from strength to strength over the last year, driven by increasing demand at home and abroad. The recent downturn is obviously disappointing, but is temporary and, as supply chain disruptions are resolved, output should be back on track. With the general election now less than a week away, the next government must ensure we have the conditions necessary for growth which means maintaining favourable market conditions, improving the competitiveness of UK manufacturing and ensuring trade flows are as free and fair as possible.”

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Commercial Motor is the online presence for Commercial Motor magazine, the world’s oldest magazine dedicated to the commercial vehicle industry.

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