Despite serious impacts on supply chains and manufacturing across the board, working vehicle production has hit superb highs recently, with the best July in six years, according to SMMT.
No fewer than 8,097 vans, buses, trucks, coaches and taxis rolled out of the factory doors in the month – that’s more than 40 percent up on July last year.
It was the eleventh monthly increase in production, too, so year-to-date performance is unbeaten since 2012, at 58,693 units, some 47 percent above the same period in 2021.
Demand for CV is strong at home as well as abroad, where almost 60 percent of the finished products end up finding new homes.
However, the good news has to be seen in the context of some “dark clouds” in the sky that even the brightest of silver linings cannot shine through. Energy costs continue to dog the industry, while inflation predictions seem to be getting ever higher. In addition, the cost-of-living crisis is biting hard.
In the bus sector, the £130 million extra for the Bus Recovery Grant announced by government last week will help to support bus operator services and the millions of people that use them every single day. It extends the grant for a further six months and follows calls from a growing list of operators who say they face no other choice but to cut services.
Ridership levels have gradually recovered since the end of lockdowns but are still below pre-pandemic levels, which is quite understandably holding back operator confidence to invest in their fleets.
However, this investment is needed, across the CV sector, in order to meet the UK’s ambitious targets for decarbonisation.