Car production in Britain goes up a gear in July

Marion Dakers

CAR MANUFACTURERS in Britain produced seven per cent more cars last month, and analysts are expecting output to accelerate further during the rest of the year.

Almost 129,000 cars rolled off the production lines in UK factories in July, compared to 120,391 for the same month a year ago.

This jump helped to take year-to-date growth to 1.9 per cent, or 893,263 units.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which compiles the figures from the industry, said the increase in production “is continuing to follow the wider UK trend for more positive growth”.

“We are starting to see slight signs of recovery from Europe which will support stronger production levels this year, and UK manufacturers will continue to build and develop innovative, high-quality products that appeal to a global customer base,” said the SMMT’s interim chief executive Mike Baunton.

The biggest rise came from cars sold to UK buyers, which increased 37.5 per cent on last year to 28,895 vehicles.

Exports, which make up around four-fifths of British production, rose 0.6 per cent, though in the year so far remain 3.2 per cent lower than last year.

“[E]ven better news is expected in the second half of 2013, as the decline in European car sales looks finally to have bottomed-out, with registrations of new cars in Europe rising 4.8 per cent in July compared to the same month a year ago,” said John Leech, UK head of automotive at KPMG yesterday. Leech expects British production to rise five per cent this year.

Commercial vehicles continue to struggle with weak demand, with output down 11.8 per cent to 7,942 units in July. The figures were hit by the closure of Ford’s Transit van factory in Southampton.