UK May commercial vehicle production hits record growth, driven by export demand

Graeme Paterson


LONDON (ICIS)–UK commercial vehicle (CV) production rose by 26.5% in May year on year, the best performance for that month and year to date in a decade, the country’s automotive trade group said on Thursday.

The record growth was driven by exports, which almost doubled as the end of Covid-19 lockdown measures abroad prompted higher demand.

Output in May was the fifth consecutive month of year-on-year production increases, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said in a statement.

Source: SMMT

Year-to-date, CV production rose by 44% from 2021, marking the strongest performance since 2012.

“The CV sector is a rare beacon amid the gloom of economic challenges being faced by businesses and fleet operators in the UK,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.

“With the best year to May output for a decade, and a growing number of zero-emission commercial vehicle models for a wider range of use cases, there are grounds for optimism.”

While exports for the month were strong, production for the UK domestic market declined by 26.3% “against significant economic headwinds,” the SMMT said.

Rising energy costs and inflation should be tackled head-on to enable investment in innovation and training that will drive the CV sector’s transition to net zero, Hawes added.

Source: SMMT

The UK’s positive performance contrasts with the EU’s CV sector, which reported a 17.7% decline for registrations in May, and a fall of almost 20% year to date.

The automotive sector is a major end-user of certain chemicals, particularly polymers such as polyurethane, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), nylon and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).


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