UK car output halved as chips shortage bites

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Parked cars are seen at the Vauxhall plant as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Ellesmere Port, Britain March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble

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LONDON, June 25 (Reuters) - British automotive production more than halved in May compared with the same month in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, as a global shortage of semi-conductors and other components continued to weigh on car plants.

The output of 54,962 cars was down 52.6% from May 2019 although it was 10 times the figure for May 2020 when Britain was in the grip of a first coronavirus lockdown, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said the recovery of production faced a massive challenge in Britain and beyond because of the supply shortages.

"If the UK is to remain competitive, therefore, it must ensure it has a globally attractive policy framework for both vehicle production and the supply chain," he said.

Speeding up zero-emission car production had to be part of Britain's strategy, he said.

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Reporting by William Schomberg, editing by Andy Bruce

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