Stronger UK sales lifts car manufacturers as export markets wane

Chris Papadopoullos
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A SURGE in demand from the domestic market has helped support British car manufacturers, despite a fall in orders from overseas.

The number of cars manufactured in the UK in the first four months of this year was 530,505, according to figures released yesterday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

It is nearly two per cent fewer cars compared to the same figure last year. The decline was attributable to a seven per cent drop in exports.

So far this year, 74.5 per cent of cars produced in the UK have been sold to foreigners. Yet the weakness in exports was offset by a massive boost in UK demand, with car sales to the domestic market soaring by 19.4 per cent on the year.

Three of the four largest export markets for car manufacturers have struggled economically over the last 12 months. The Eurozone countries, which make up most of the economy of the EU, have struggled to sustain an economic recovery following the 2008 financial crisis and nearly entered a triple dip recession last year.

China’s annual economic growth slowed to seven per cent at the beginning of 2015, the lowest rate of growth since 2009.

Russia’s economy has been hit by economic sanctions put in place in response its involvement in the annexation of the Crimea, with one official recently predicting the economy would contract by 2.5 per cent this year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes believes UK car production could hit record levels if global markets pick up.

“Manufacturers across the country are poised to see yet more growth following multi billion pound investments and, providing global markets perform well, output is on track to reach record levels in the next few years,” he said.

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