UK car manufacturing climbs 13 per cent in February as domestic sales accelerate – SMMT

Chris Papadopoullos
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Nissan's Car Manufacturing Plant In Sunderland
Source: Getty

February was another month of growth for UK car makers as they continued to buck the trend in the rest of the manufacturing sector.

The UK made 146,955 cars last month, up 13.1 per cent on the same month last year, according to the figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The increase was led by a strong domestic sales figure which rose 24.4 per cent. Exports climbed 9.1 per cent. Roughly three-quarters of UK-made cars are shipped abroad.

Growth in UK sales was much sharper than it was January when the year-on-year rise was only 2.5 per cent.

Output was 10.6 per cent higher over January and February than it was over the same period last year.

The rising output numbers show car makers are building on a strong 2015. Production hit its highest for a decade last year. The fortunes of car makers contrast with the manufacturing sector as a whole, which contrasted 0.2 per cent last year.

“Sales figures from several of the UK’s leading automotive exporters have so far proved more robust, suggesting demand in the world’s largest market for marquee British car brands is holding up reasonably well,” Stuart Apperley, head of UK automotive at Lloyds Bank commercial banking.

He added: “Already this year major announcements – like Nissan’s decision to manufacture a new driverless Qashqai in Sunderland, Aston Martin’s investment in a new Welsh factory and McLaren’s plans for £1bn of additional investment over the next six years – have buoyed the sector.”

“In the short term that shouldn’t be negatively impacted.”

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The outlook for the sector is bright, but much will depend on global political and economic conditions in the months and years to come."