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March sees UK car manufacturing at record high

Best month since 2000

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Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that March 2017 was a record month for UK car manufacturing.

With an increase of 7.3%, March saw 170,691 vehicles produced, the most manufactured in a single month since 2000.

March’s strong output contributed to a record quarter for UK car manufacturing with  471,695 vehicles produced. This 7.6% increase on last year helped make it the biggest Q1 for 17 years.

The comparatively weak pound drove export demand, which was up 10.6% on the same period in 2016. British brands like Jaguar, Land Rover, Bentley and Rolls Royce continued to appeal to overseas buyers, while volume brands like Nissan, Honda and Toyota also maintained strong export outputs. More than 76% of UK manufacturers’ output for March was for a customer overseas, with one car exported every 20 seconds.

The strong export market offset a decline in domestic sales, with demand down 4.3% in Q1, despite record sales in March ahead of changes to VED rates.

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the SMMT, offered this assessment: “UK car manufacturing is accelerating with low emission diesels accounting for a large proportion of the market.” Hawes also issued a warning on Brexit, deeming the maintenance of free trade between the UK and EU “vital”.

SMMT figures March UK car manufacturing (The Car Expert)
The output from UK car manufacturers has steadily increased.

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Katharine Morgan
Katharine Morgan
Katharine was a contributor to both The Car Expert and The Van Expert, and is now Motorsport & Automotive Press Officer for Goodwood.