29 May 2020 (data for April 2020)

  • British commercial vehicle output drops -99.3% in April, with just 15 units rolling off production lines as nationwide factory closures hit.
  • Year-to-date production down -27.6%, driven by lowest monthly output on record, compared with an already low volume April in 2019.1
  • CV manufacturers continue to supply parts for aftermarket to service vehicles crucial to nationwide pandemic response.

Friday 29 May, 2020 UK commercial vehicle (CV) production fell -99.3% in April, with just 15 units leaving production lines, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). As plants were forced to close their doors due to the global pandemic, only a handful of commercial vehicles left factory gates to complete existing orders, all destined for the UK market, with zero exports in the month. 

Year-to-date commercial vehicle production fell -27.6% on what was already an exceptionally weak April in 2019, when volumes fell a staggering -70.9% due to planned factory shutdowns timed to mitigate any disruption arising from the anticipated March Brexit.

Although vehicle production was halted in April as key global markets closed, many manufacturers continued to make spare parts and offer repair and maintenance services to help keep essential vehicles on the road and supply chains moving throughout the crisis. 

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “These figures, though unprecedentedly low, are not surprising given the exceptional circumstances. However, they do illustrate the incredible challenge facing the UK commercial vehicle sector and, consequently, the wider economy. Production lines are beginning to roll again but, with strict social distancing measures in place, scaling up to full capacity will be a gradual process. To accelerate a sustainable recovery of this critical and fundamentally strong industry and futureproof jobs, we will need government’s ongoing support.”



Notes to editors

  1. CV production in April 2019 – 2,162; CV production in April 2018 – 7,423.

High res charts can be downloaded here:

About SMMT and the UK automotive industry

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is one of the largest and most influential trade associations in the UK. It supports the interests of the UK automotive industry at home and abroad, promoting a united position to government, stakeholders and the media.

The automotive industry is a vital part of the UK economy accounting for £82 billion turnover and £18.6 billion value added. With some 168,000 people employed directly in manufacturing and 823,000 across the wider automotive industry, it accounts for 14.4% of total UK export of goods and invests £3.75 billion each year in automotive R&D. More than 30 manufacturers build some 70 models of vehicle in the UK supported by 2,500 component providers and some of the world's most skilled engineers.

More detail on UK automotive available in SMMT's Motor Industry Facts 2019 publication at

Broadcasters: SMMT has an ISDN studio and access to expert spokespeople, case studies and regional representatives.

SMMT media contacts

Paul Mauerhoff, 020 7344 9233,    
Aleona Krechetova, 020 7344 9215,
Daniel Zealander, 020 7344 1667,                  
Emma Butcher, 020 7344 9263,


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