The industry is still affected by the global shortage of semiconductors and other components, says the SMMT.
Car production has continued to fall, with almost 100,000 fewer vehicles built in the first three months of 2022 compared with a year ago, new figures show.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said manufacturing declined by almost a third, with the industry still affected by the global shortage of semiconductors and other components.
A total of 207,347 new cars were built during the first quarter, down from 306,558 in the pandemic-affected same three months in 2021.
Output in the last month of the quarter fell by more than a third, down from 115,498 last year to 76,900 – making it the weakest March since the financial crisis in 2009.
Exports to the United States saw the greatest decrease during March, dropping by 63.8%, while exports to the EU declined by 24.5%.
The SMMT said seven in 10 cars made in the UK last month were built for export, with the EU taking the majority, followed by the US and China.
Production for the domestic market increased “modestly” by 4.3%, said the report.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “Two years after the start of the pandemic, automotive production is still suffering badly, with nearly 100,000 units lost in the first quarter.
“Recovery has not yet begun and, with a backdrop of an increasingly difficult economic environment, including escalating energy costs, urgent action is needed to protect the competitiveness of UK manufacturing.
“We want the UK to be at the forefront of the transition to electrified vehicles, not just as a market but as a manufacturer so action is urgently needed if we are to safeguard jobs and livelihoods.”