Vehicle production is back to pre-pandemic levels and new vehicle waiting lists are beginning to reduce

As we begin to emerge from that latest lockdown, the impact that the last 16 months or so has had on industries and businesses is beginning to become clearer. For many, perhaps unsurprisingly, the picture isn’t particularly rosy.

One industry that finds itself in a difficult position, bringing wide-ranging implications for many UK businesses, is the car industry. Put simply, the pandemic decimated car production for many months and the aftereffects of this are being felt as we speak. If you try to order a new vehicle right now, you’ll find out that delivery dates are all too often as far away as Feb 2022. Yes, unfortunately you read that right, some can be a nine month lead time.

Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom. The good news is that production is now almost back to its pre-pandemic levels, with the total amount of vehicles made in April 2021 of 68,306 just 3.8% down on the same month in 2019. But the issue is brought very firmly into focus when we look at the same month in 2020. Staggeringly, as the first lockdown kicked in, just 197 vehicles were made in April 2020. That’s such a difference that it’s not even worth giving you the percentage amount.

Whilst this feels like the world is getting back to normal, and you could feasibly think that these delays will soon be a thing of the past, the chances are that we will be in this situation for some time. Playing catch up isn’t easy, because there are literally only so many cars that can be made in any month, and because there is also a worldwide shortage of key parts, most notably the semiconductors that more or less every vehicle needs.

These delays in delivery are likely to cause significant issues for many businesses. And it’s not just the pandemic that needs to be considered. Interestingly, we have had a good number of enquiries from our clients about changing their vans with the upcoming introduction of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) in London on 25th October. If you’re not aware of this, vehicles that enter the usual congestion charge area of central London now also need to meet specific emission standards. If they don’t then owners will have to stump up an additional charge of £12.50 for most vehicle types. And if your vehicle is a lorry that weights over 3.5 tonnes, that charge rockets to £100. It’s pretty significant, to say the least.

At Birmingham Bank, we not only provide highly competitive rates for our customers wishing to finance their new vehicles, we also have access to meaningful discounts on a wide range of vehicles through our relationship with bira. Perhaps most importantly, given the production concerns we’ve already highlighted, the relationship also allows us to understand manufacturing and delivery timescales from across the market. It’s all part of our commitment to putting common sense back into business banking.


So, our advice is simple. If you are due to upgrade some of your fleet or you need new vehicles to support your growth, time is very much of the essence. We very much recommend getting in touch as soon as possible to start the process. And don’t forget, if you don’t need new vehicles, we can also help finance used ones.

To find out how we can help, get in touch on 03330 048 048




Published: 30 Jun 2021

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