The number of cars made in Britain fell by 20% in January from already weak output levels in the same month last year as the industry struggled with ongoing shortages of components, a plant closure and the change to new models.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said 68,790 cars were made in Britain last month, the weakest start to any year since 2009.

The combined effect of the current problems for the industry was greater than the disruption in January 2021 when Britain left the European Union's single market.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said the sector was fundamentally strong and had been boosted by recent investment announcements. Battery electric vehicle production was up a third in January from a year earlier.

"Long-term recovery can only be delivered, however, if global competitiveness is assured and for that we must address both inflationary and fixed costs, most obviously escalating energy prices, but also fiscal and trading costs," Hawes said.