Nissan car production, via PANissan car production, via PA


Car manufacturers enjoy best January in three years as production up by more than a fifth

  • UK car manufacturing output grew by 21% in January to 82,997 units
  • Export volumes were up by 11.6% while production for home market surged by 64.5%
  • Electrified vehicle production was up by 4.5% to 29,590 units

Time 8:59 am, February 29, 2024

UK car production had its best January since 2021 last month with manufacturing up by more than a fifth, the SMMT said today.

Output rose by 21% to 82,997 units, marking the fifth month of growth in a row, helped by legacy supply chain challenges – mainly semiconductor shortages – easing and global demand continuing to rise. January 2021 saw 86,052 cars made.

Most of the vehicles made were for export (75.8%), with overseas shipments up 11.6% to 62,938 units – a rise of 6,559.

However, it was output for the home market that enjoyed the biggest volume growth – up an extra 7,863 units (64.5%) to 20.059.

The EU was the largest global market for British-built cars, taking more than half of exports at 53.2%.

It was followed by the US (15%), China (10.5%), Japan (2.8%) and Australia (2.3%). Shipments to the EU, US and China all increased – by 5%, 81.1% and 33.2% respectively.

Meanwhile, UK production of battery-electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid (HEV) vehicles rose by a combined 4.5% to 29,590 units to account for 35.7% of overall output.

Most of them were exported, which the SMMT said showed the importance of producing more numbers of electrified cars, as well as ensuring free and fair trading arrangements with global markets.

Chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘A positive start to the year for UK car production bodes well for the industry and the many thousands of livelihoods on which it depends.’

But he warned: ‘There can be no room for complacency, however, given economic headwinds and geopolitical tensions.

‘There must be a relentless commitment to competitiveness, building on the significant recent investments in the sector.

‘The forthcoming Budget is a chance for the government to do just that by introducing measures to boost UK automotive manufacturing, focused on energy, investment competitiveness and market demand.’

The latest independent outlook, made in November, predicts UK car and LCV production rising by some 3% in 2024 to 1.04m units, said the SMMT, although it added that the scale of any effects on car manufacturing caused by attacks on shipping in the Red Sea was yet to be seen.


John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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