Automotive plants manufactured 141,146 cars in May, which is the highest monthly level since 2004 according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
That represents growth of 42.2 per cent compared with the same month last year, and brings year-to-date volumes up 17.3 per cent on the same period of 2011.
The vast majority – 120,120, or 82.9 per cent – of those were manufactured for export, although domestic production also rose 25.8 per cent to 21,026.
The growth was driven by “a sizable recovery against volumes hampered by last year’s Japanese tsunami,” said SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt.
“This boost, coupled with robust year-to-date results demonstrates the strength of UK automotive manufacturing and shows why it continues to attract high levels of international investment.”
UK engine manufacturing also rose, growing 13.4 per cent, as year-to-date volumes topped the 1m mark and is now running 40,000 units ahead of output in the same period of last year.
However, commercial vehicle output remains subdued with only 9,445 vehicles produced. That is down 7.4 per cent on the month, driven by falling domestic demand.