Sun, 11 Apr 2021

LONDON, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- The car production across Britain dropped 27.3 percent year-on-year in January 2021, marking the 17th consecutive month of decline, the British Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said Friday.

The SMMT data showed that the country's car manufacturing output stood at 86,052 units in the month, marking the worst January performance since 2009.

"Multiple factors, including the ongoing effects of the pandemic, global supply chain issues, extended shutdowns and friction in the new trading arrangements following the end of the Brexit transition period, affected output," said the auto trade body.

Car manufacturing for both home and overseas markets fell to 16,692 and 69,360 units respectively, representing decreases of 18.3 percent and 29.1 percent when compared with the same month one year earlier, data showed.

On the bright side, the production of battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid vehicles (HEV) in Britain continued to grow in January, with combined output of these vehicles rising 18.9 percent yearly to 21,792 units, accounting for 25.3 percent of total car manufacturing, figures revealed.

The report came around one week before this year's official Budget announcement scheduled on March 3, as the trade body urged the British government to set out further measures to support the industry's recovery.

"Yet another month of decline for UK car production is a grave concern and next week's Budget is the chancellor's opportunity to boost the industry by introducing measures that will support competitiveness, jobs and livelihoods," said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, referring to the British chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak.

"Most immediately, however, we must get our COVID-secure car showrooms back open, ideally before 12 April," he said, adding that this will be "the fastest way to UK automotive manufacturing recovery."

England is currently under the third national lockdown since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country. Similar restriction measures are also in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Monday a four-phase "roadmap" to ease the current coronavirus lockdown.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.

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