UK car production nearly halved in April as manufacturers reduced operations at factories to prepare for Brexit, according to data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

SMMT showed that the UK car production in April plummeted 44.5% to 70,971 units compared to 127,970 produced in the same period 12 months previously.

The April slump is the 11th straight monthly decline in car production. The fall was 15% in February and 13% in March.

SMMT said that some car manufacturing facilities shutdown in April to avoid the risk of supply chain disruption from a messy ‘no-deal’ Brexit on 29 March, which was the original date the UK was due to leave the EU.

Carmakers were unable to adjust their production lines as they were busy with stockpiling, reogranisation, training for new customs procedures and rerouting of logistics to deal with the potential fall-out of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The Brexit deadline since been rescheduled until 31 October.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Today’s figures are evidence of the vast cost and upheaval Brexit uncertainty has already wrought on UK automotive manufacturing businesses and workers.

“Prolonged instability has done untold damage, with the fear of ‘no deal’ holding back progress, causing investment to stall, jobs to be lost and undermining our global reputation.

“This is why ‘no deal’ must be taken off the table immediately and permanently, so industry can get back to the business of delivering for the economy and keeping the UK at the forefront of the global technology race.”

The SMMT believes that overall production will fall by 10% this year from 2018. However, a softer Brexit outcome could help the market rebound by the end of the year.