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Best Q1 since 2004 for UK car manufacturing

The figures released today (28 April) by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that overseas demand showed the biggest gains, up 14.3% in the month, while production for the home market fell slightly by -1.4%.

A similar trend was seen in the first quarter figures, with exports for the first three months growing 11.1% to 329,653 units, while domestic output also rose by 8%, buoyed by stronger growth in January and February, to take overall manufacturing volumes to 443,581, an increase of 10.3%. 

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “UK car plants were at their busiest for 12 years in March, with a vehicle rolling off production lines every 16 seconds thanks to heightened international demand for British-built cars. Much will depend on economic and political conditions in key markets but, with several brand new global models starting production here in the first quarter alone, the prospects for future growth look bright.”

John Leech, head of automotive at KPMG, commented:  “This strong performance is due principally to market share gains from the launch of new models such as Jaguar XE, F-PACE and Vauxhall Astra. The recovering EU and Chinese market, buoyant UK market and weak Pound ahead of the EU referendum will provide a strong tailwind for the second quarter. We forecast UK vehicle production will grow by 8% overall in 2016.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.