UK car production hits 17-year high

More cars were built in the UK last month than in any February since 2000, driven by a sharp increase in export orders, according to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Overall production rose eight per cent to 153,041 cars in February as production lines turned out one car every 16 seconds.

The figure is boosted by a 13.4 per cent increase in sales to overseas markets as 118,898 cars were shipped abroad.

Overall year-to-date production has now gone past 300,000 for the first time since 2002, with output rising 7.8 per cent to 301,004 units.

In January and February this year, exports of UK-made cars grew 12.1 per cent with 236,834 units shipped abroad, helping to offset a slump in domestic demand of -5.6 per cent to 64,170.

The fall in the value of the pound, a consequence of the EU referendum result, has made British cars cheaper to foreign buyers. It has, of course, also raised the cost of importing car parts for UK manufacturers.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said the rise in exports demonstrated the popularity of British-made cars, but warned about the importance of continuing to do tariff-free business with Europe.

“Today’s figures illustrate the continuing global popularity of British-built vehicles and the export-led nature of the industry,” Mr Hawes said.

With eight out of every 10 cars we produce destined for international markets – and half of those for customers in the EU – we must avoid barriers to trade, whether tariff, customs or other regulatory obstacles, at all costs.

“To do otherwise would damage our competitiveness and threaten the continued success of UK automotive manufacturing.”

Dealerships will be pleased to hear the positive news for the UK’s car industry. Heading into 2017, you may well be looking to add to your business to capitalise on growing demand. New customer offerings, sales people and expanded premises can all help, but ensure to keep your motor trade insurance updated so your entire business is covered.