LONDON—United Kingdom car manufacturing output fell by almost 50 percent in April, marking the 11th consecutive month of decline in automotive production in the country.
Just under 71,000 cars rolled off production lines during April, down 44.5 percent compared to the year before, according to figures issued May 30 by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show.
The U.K. association attributed the decline to large-scale factory shutdowns, which normally are scheduled for the summer holiday but were brought forward and extended due to Brexit.
"The shift in shutdown, which cannot now be repeated for an Oct. 31 deadline, was part of a raft of costly and ongoing contingency measures," SMMT said.
Throughout a 12-month period, production fell 22.4 percent to 441,000 units, largely due to slowing demand in key international markets, including the European Union, China and the U.S., as well as the U.K. itself.
If the U.K. leaves the EU with a "favorable deal and substantial transition period," and without an escalation of global trade tensions, SMMT expects the decline in volumes to ease by the year end.
"Today's figures are evidence of the vast cost and upheaval Brexit uncertainty has already wrought on U,K. automotive manufacturing businesses and workers," SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said.
The prolonged instability, he added, has done "untold damage" with the fear of no deal Brexit holding back progress.
For the industry to "get back to business," Hawes called for the no deal option to be "taken off the table immediately and permanently."
The U.K. was expected to withdraw from the European Union 29 Mar, but the departure date has now been extended to Oct. 31.