Automotive News – Late February 2022

Supply chain shortages squeeze January car output but EV surge brightens outlook

  • UK car production falls -20.1% in worst January since 2009 with 68,790 units leaving factory gates.
  • Production for overseas and domestic markets down -17.5% and -30.8% respectively.
  • Battery electric vehicle production up a third, with one in 11 cars rolling off factory lines zero emission.

UK car production fell -20.1% to 68,790 units last month, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the weakest January total since 2009.1 Output was down 17,262 units against the same month last year, which itself was one of the worst Januarys on record when volumes were impacted by friction in the new post-Brexit trading arrangements, extended shutdowns and the pandemic.


HGV market accelerates 12.9% in 2021 to defy supply challenge

  • UK new HGV registrations increase to 37,163 (+12.9%) as market gains ground after locked down 2020.
  • Supply chain constraints see market end -16.9% down on pre-pandemic average.
  • Industry calls for clear plan to drive transition to zero emission vehicles and maintain fleet operator confidence.

New heavy goods vehicle (HGV) registrations rose by 12.9% year-on-year in 2021, according to new figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Growth in key industry sectors such as construction saw demand outstrip supply, with truck registrations surging from a locked-down 2020 fall of -32.2%. However, the global semiconductor shortage, as well as supply constraints affecting steel and aluminium, impacted availability, resulting in 7,571 fewer (-16.9%) HGV units registered compared with the pre-pandemic average.


January engine production falls -15.9% as pandemic pressures continue

  • UK engine production declines -15.9% on January last year, to 141,472 units.
  • Production for domestic and overseas markets falls -29.2% and -6.2% respectively.
  • Pandemic-related supply shortages continue to bite as rising energy costs and inflation add to challenges.


UK commercial vehicle output begins 2022 up 22.2%

  • British commercial vehicle production starts the year up 22.2% to 6,860 units.
  • Growth driven by export markets, up 32.1%, while output for UK customers rises 10.9%.
  • 5% of all British-built CVs exported, with majority destined for EU roads.


UK bus and coach registrations fall to lowest recorded level as pandemic dents ridership

  • Demand for new buses and coaches drops -16.8% in 2021, with only 3,467 vehicles joining UK roads.
  • Double-deck bus registrations fall -35.4%, driving overall decline.
  • Q4 down -31.6% rounding off the weakest year since records began in 1996.
  • Sector looks to government’s Bus Back Better Fund and Levelling Up ambitions to boost ridership and recovery.

The UK new bus and coach market declined by -16.8% in 2021, with registrations falling to just 3,467 vehicles, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Quarter four, down -31.6% to just 883 registrations, rounded off the worst year since records began as ridership levels failed to recover to pre-pandemic levels.


Luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin is creating more than 100 jobs at its factory in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The new roles at the St Athan facility, which currently employs 528, follows the launch of its new sport utility vehicle model the DBX707.

The latest expansion is not being supported with any Welsh Government finance, following its support for Aston Martin to build its second factory in the UK outside of its headquarters in Gaydon in the Midlands, and which saw its first DBX vehicle roll off the production line in the summer of 2020.


Volta Trucks has won another £192m of investment that it says means its UK engineering and business operation can continue after production begins later this year.

The electric vehicle maker is headquartered in Stockholm but has its engineering base is in Coventry.

Volta says the €230m Series C funding round will cover its entire engineering and business operations until after the start of series production of the 16-tonne full-electric Volta Zero at the end of 2022.


Clean Transport Accelerator launched by NatWest and University of Warwick to help SMEs fast-track their innovations

  • NatWest and WMG, a department at the University of Warwick, are inviting businesses that are creating the next generation of clean green transport to apply to their new accelerator
  • Businesses will receive support to fast-track their innovations, including easy access to clean transport experts and equipment, exclusive 1:1 coaching sessions, and access to growth funding
  • The Clean Transport Accelerator is a fully funded programme and will help the UK be a green leader in carbon-neutral transport for future mobility, helping businesses bring their innovations to the market quicker


UK-headquartered luxury auto manufacturer Bentley Motors has doubled its additive manufacturing capacity with a £3 million investment at its Crewe facility.

The milestone is said to be a major component of the company’s ‘Dream Factory’ ambitions and vision to create a ‘long-term, sustainable business model’, and forms part of its Beyond100 strategy focused on sustainable mobility leadership. Last year, the facility, where all Bentley models are built, was used to 3D print more than 15,000 components but Bentley says this expansion will enable the production of 3D printed vehicle components and greater personalisation in customer cars.


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