THE UK car manufacturing industry grew by 1.3 per cent in May, improving over the same period last year.
During the month, 137,225 cars were produced, compared with 135,473 in May 2017. Manufacturing for domestic buyers increased by 12.8 per cent – from 26,528 to 29,918 – whereas last May it was down by 12.8 per cent. However, production for export fell by 1.5 per cent from 108,945 to 107,307 cars rolling off the assembly line for foreign markets.
Year-to-date figures were down by 2.9 per cent from 726,937 to 705,603 vehicles produced in the first five months of this year.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Following the significant decline in output in May last year as several manufacturers geared up to deliver new models, growth this month was to be expected. For this to continue, we need to ensure UK car plants are able to attract future investment, and this will depend upon maintaining the competitive conditions that have helped drive the industry’s success in recent years.
“Given our dependency on the EU as our biggest customer and supplier, that means retaining the benefits of the single market and membership of the customs union – the minimum requirement for frictionless trade.”
Meanwhile, the UK commercial vehicles sector remained stable last month, falling by just 0.6 per cent to 6,833 compared with the same time last year (6,875). In contrast to the car manufacturing results, production for foreign markets rose by 11.6 per cent from 4,372 to 4,879 units, with UK demand falling by 21.9 per cent from 2,503 units to 1,954. In all, fewer than three in 10 commercial vehicles were built for UK customers.
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