LONDON -- British car output fell to its lowest July level since 1956 as a global shortage of semiconductor chips and staff having to self-isolate due to COVID-19 hit the sector.
Volumes dropped by an annual 38 percent to 53,438 vehicles last month, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which also blamed the decline on the timing of summer factory shutdowns.
As coronavirus cases rose last month, hundreds of thousands of people were being "pinged" by the National Health Service's contact-tracing app and instructed to self-isolate, although it has since been tweaked to reduce the numbers contacted.
"While the impact of the ‘pingdemic’ will lessen as self-isolation rules change, the worldwide shortage of semiconductors shows little sign of abating," SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said in a statement on Thursday.
UK automaker Jaguar Land Rover said last month it expected the chip shortage to continue into 2022, and the company is prioritizing production of more profitable vehicles.
Nissan's output at its factory in Sunderland, England, has also been hit by a lack of chips.