Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant has suffered job losses in recent months
UK – Production figures released by the SMMT revealed a 3% reduction in UK vehicle manufacturing, seeing 1.6m cars produced in 2017. This was in part attributed to consumer confusion over government plans for diesel vehicles and the ongoing uncertainty over the UK's exit from the EU, slowing new vehicle sales. SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes noted that this was still the second highest UK production output figure in the last 17 years. The lack of clarity around the Brexit issue was also seen as contributing to the reduced investment in the UK automotive industry, down from over £2 billion in previous years to £1.6 billion in 2017, with a forecast for just over £1 billion in 2018. This slow down in production has recently been highlighted by job losses at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant and a cut in the number of shifts at Jaguar Land Rover's Halewood facility. While vehicle production is down, engine production increased by almost 7% in 2017, with 2.7m petrol and diesel units being produced.
Highlighting just how integrated the UK and european automotive markets are, with almost 80% of UK vehicle production being exported, of which 54% going to the EU, Hawes stressed the importance of maintaining “free, frictionless trade” as essential to UK auto industry. However, he also noted the continued growth in UK vehicle exports to Japan, Canada, China and the US.