Car manufacturing in the UK rose by 3.5 per cent in the first half of the year to hit nearly 800,000 units produced, helped by the launch of a range of new models, with more anticipated in the months ahead.
The figures from the industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), showed that UK car production in June rose 3.7 per cent to more than 135,000 cars, with a 16 per cent rise in production for the home market in a further sign of a domestic boost to the industry as the UK’s economic recovery picks up pace.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “With several manufacturers having started assembly of new models this year and billions of pounds of investment still to reach production fruition, this is an exciting time for the UK automotive sector.”
“However, with this growth comes a need to bolster the domestic supply chain and address major skills shortages; both of which the UK industry is committed to addressing.”
Also commenting on the production figures, John Leech, UK head of automotive at KPMG, said “This has been a credible first half of the year for UK car production. A lot of important new models were launched, such as the Nissan Qashqai, BMW Mini and Range Rover Sport, and I expect a strengthening trend into the second half of 2014.”
Leech was also positive for future developments in the sector, stating “with the Jaguar XE and the new Vauxhall Astra, due to be launched early next year, we are on the threshold of a golden era of British car manufacturing. We have firmed up our forecast for UK vehicle production and are now confident of seeing the two million vehicle barrier broken in 2017.”
Around 1.6m cars and 2.5m engines are produced annually in the UK, and represent 10 per cent of the UK’s total goods exports. The sector has an annual turnover of more than £60bn, with nearly 150,000 people directly employed in manufacturing, and more than 700,000 more across the wider automotive industry, according to SMMT.