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UK Car Production Surges in February, Marking Sixth Consecutive Month of Growth

by Anna

The latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal a robust performance for the UK car production industry in February. Production rose by an impressive 14.6% compared to the previous year, reaching a total of 79,907 units. This marks the best February performance since 2021 and signifies the sixth consecutive month of growth for the sector.

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The surge in production was primarily driven by strong demand in the domestic market, which saw a remarkable growth of 58.0%, totaling 20,658 units. This represents an increase of 7,585 units compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, exports also witnessed a notable rise, increasing by 4.6% to 59,249 units. Three-quarters of all cars produced during the month were destined for international markets, underscoring the global appeal of UK-made vehicles.

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Among the export destinations, the European Union emerged as the largest recipient, accounting for 59.9% of exports, followed by the US (14.8%), China (7.1%), Australia (3.3%), and Turkey (2.3%). Despite a slight decline in exports to Turkey (-20.3%), volumes to other key markets, particularly the US, experienced significant growth, with exports to the US surging by 95.6%.

The production of electrified vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and hybrid models, maintained its momentum, representing more than a third (36.3%) of all output during the month. Factories churned out a combined total of 29,038 units, marking a 6.0% increase compared to the previous year. Of these electrified vehicles, two-thirds (67.3%) were destined for export markets, highlighting the importance of enhancing UK battery production and electric vehicle supply chain capabilities.

Commenting on the encouraging figures, Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of SMMT, expressed optimism about the industry’s performance, emphasizing the strong demand for British-built cars both domestically and internationally. He highlighted the ongoing transition towards electrified vehicles and underscored the need for sustained investment and support to maintain the UK’s industrial competitiveness.

Despite the positive momentum, Hawes cautioned about the stiff competition faced by the UK automotive industry, particularly as global competitors intensify efforts to secure new models and technologies. He emphasized the importance of maintaining a commitment to industrial competitiveness from all political parties, especially in the run-up to the likely election year.

Year-to-date figures for 2024 also reflect a robust performance, with UK car production up by 17.8% at 162,904 units compared to the same period last year. However, Hawes noted that production volumes may become more variable in the coming months, as major manufacturers transition towards producing new electric variants following the announcement of the end of production for some long-running models.

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