Only 15 commercial vehicles were built in the UK in April as the Covid-19 lockdown brought production lines to a near standstill.

All of the vehicles were destined to meet existing orders within the UK, meaning there were no exports during the month.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the year-on-year drop of over 99% resulted in the lowest monthly output on record and compounded the already weak market in April 2019, when volumes plummeted 70.9% due to planned factory shutdowns timed to mitigate the disruption that was expected to arise from the anticipated March Brexit.

CV production during the first four months of 2020 was down 27.6% compared to the same period last year.

While the pandemic halted vehicle production in April, however, the SMMT pointed out 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. 

SMMT boss Mike Hawes 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.”