UK car makers recorded a 9.9 per cent increase in production in April, with 66,527 new models being built in the month.
According to figures revealed today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 82.4 per cent of cars built in the UK in April were destined for export. In total, 54,820 cars manufactured were produced for overseas markets – a 14.7 per cent increase on last year. It’s the third month in a row that exports saw a double-digit rise.
The largest overseas market was the European Union, accounting for 58.4 per cent of exports, followed by the US, China and Australia.
The number of cars built in the UK heading to British homes fell by 8.3 per cent however, to 11,707 units.
The UK remains a leader when it comes to production of electrified models, with combined volumes of EVs, hybrids and plug-in hybrids accounting for 37.7 per cent of all vehicles made in April. This was likely driven by strong continued demand for hybrid versions of the Nissan Qashqai and Toyota Corolla, which are built in Sunderland and Derby respectively.
While the SMMT said the increase was “good news” for the UK car industry, it warned that more needed to be done to “safeguard the competitiveness of trading relationships”.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “UK car production is starting to motor again, and it’s good news for the sector and the many thousands of jobs and livelihoods it sustains.
“These figures also show how exports, particularly to Europe, continue to be the foundation of British automotive manufacturing so we must do all we can to safeguard the competitiveness of these trading relationships.
“Most immediately, this means finding a solution to the rules of origin challenge faced by manufacturers on both sides of the Channel, or else we risk the application of tariffs – and therefore unnecessary cost – on the very vehicles we are trying to encourage consumers to purchase.”
The news follows last week’s comments from car manufacturing giant Stellantis – owner of firms such as Vauxhall and Citroen – that it could close its UK manufacturing operations if the cost of making EVs here becomes uncompetitive.