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UK car manufacturing hits 17-year high in February

Overseas demand helped deliver the biggest February for UK car production in 17 years.


Output was driven by overseas demand for UK-built brands, such as MINI vehicles.

New figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show production rose 8.0% year-on-year to 153,041 units in February.

Output was driven by overseas demand, with exports up 13.4% to 118,898 units, offsetting falling home production, which was down -7.4% in the month.

February’s performance helped to drive overall year-to-date production past 300,000 units for the first time since 2002, with output rising 7.8% to 301,004 units. Growth was again driven by exports of UK-made cars, which grew 12.1%, with 236,834 units shipped abroad, offsetting a decline in domestic demand of -5.6% to 64,170 units.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said the figures illustrate the export-led nature of the industry and continued to highlight the risks of potential tariffs for UK firms exporting to Europe.

“With eight out of every 10 cars we produce destined for international markets – and half of those for customers in the EU – we must avoid barriers to trade, whether tariff, customs or other regulatory obstacles, at all costs. To do otherwise would damage our competitiveness and threaten the continued success of UK automotive manufacturing,” he commented.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 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. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.