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U.K. Car Output Drops 95% in May, Spurring Cry for Help

Siddharth Philip

(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s car production plunged to the lowest level for May since 1946 after carmakers had to idle factories to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Output dropped 95% to just 5,314 vehicles in the month, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Still, that’s an improvement on April, when 197 cars were built.

The industry is sputtering back to life from a virtual standstill at the height of the health crisis. After closing mid-March, dealerships began reopening this month, while factories owned by the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. have gradually resumed production with social-distancing measures in place.

The SMMT reiterated its call for the government to support the industry’s efforts to recover from coronavirus-related lockdowns, saying one in six jobs are at risk. The U.K. automotive industry employs more than 168,000, according to the SMMT. Carmakers have announced 6,000 job cuts, while a third of workers remain furloughed.

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