Strongest UK car production in seven years

Chris Papadopoullos
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NISSAN QASHQAI The Qashqai was the most popular UK-made car during the first half of this year
UK car makers are racing ahead this year, with sales to confident Brits steering production to a seven-year high.

The number of cars rolling out of British factories jumped 5.4 per cent in June to 143,759, according to figures published this morning by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

So far this year, Britain has produced 793,642 cars – 0.3 per cent higher than the same period in 2014 and the most since 2008.

The growth is partly an indication of the strength of the economy, with sales to the domestic market up 13.7 per cent.

The unemployment rate has plummeted since the start of last year from 7.2 per cent to 5.6 per cent, while there were also a record number of people in work until May. Car sales growth also reflects easier access to finance with borrowing costs falling.

Sales to the UK market have been enough to offset weak demand from abroad throughout 2015, with year-to-date exports down 3.3 per cent compared with last year.

Yet there are some green shoots for foreign demand as the number of cars heading to showrooms abroad climbed to 115,408 – their highest since October last year.

“Today’s figures are testament to the ever-increasing demand for the diverse, high-quality range of cars we make in the UK,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

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