The British car industry is urging a quick resolution to Brexit as production fell for the 12th month in a row.

Output dropped a staggering 15.5 per cent in May, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A total of 21,239 fewer units were manufactured, with demand both at home and abroad falling by double-digits as softening in the UK and key global markets, with the effects of model changes, caused the negative performance to continue.

In the month, manufacturing for domestic buyers fell by 25.9 per cent, while overseas orders were down 12.6 per cent.

Exports accounted for 80.9 per cent of all cars made, emphasising again the importance of maintaining free and frictionless trade.

In the year to date, UK car production is down 21.0 per cent with 557,295 new models rolling off production lines – almost 150,000 fewer than the same point in 2018.

This is due, to a certain extent, to the decision by some manufacturers to bring forward summer shutdowns to April in anticipation of the expected March date for the UK to leave the EU.

SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, said 12 consecutive months of decline for UK car manufacturing is a serious concern.

Mr Hawes said it underlines yet again the importance of securing a Brexit deal quickly.

“The sector is facing multiple seismic challenges simultaneously: technological, environmental and economic.

“The ongoing political instability and uncertainty over our future overseas trade relationships, most notably with Europe, is not helping and, whilst the industry’s fundamentals remain strong, a brighter future is only possible if we secure a deal that can help us regain our reputation as an attractive location for automotive investment.

“No deal is not an option.”

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Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.