Cookies on Zenoot

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. More info

3 minute read - 1st March 2024

Car and commercial vehicle production output up again

British car and commercial vehicle manufacturing both saw positive starts to the year with output growth up again in January, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Car production volumes rose 21.0% to 82,997 units, marking the best January performance since 2021 and the fifth straight month of growth as global demand for British-built brands continued to grow and legacy supply chain challenges, notably semiconductor shortages, abated.

The bulk of production was for export (75.8%), with overseas shipments up 11.6% to 62,938 units – a rise of 6,559. However, output for the domestic market commanded the biggest volume growth, up by an additional 7,863 units (+64.5%). The EU was the largest global market for British-built cars, taking more than half (53.2%) of exports.

Never miss the latest manufacturing news by signing up to our newsletter here

British car production output grew by 21.0% in January, to 82,997 units / Picture: Aston Martin

UK production of battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid (HEV) vehicles rose again by a combined 4.5% to 29,590 units to account for 35.7% of overall output. In line with overall figures, the majority of these models were exported, evidence of the importance of not only producing increasing numbers of electrified cars but of ensuring free and fair trading arrangements with markets around the world.

Commercial vehicle production grew by 26.9% in the first month of 2024, with 11,756 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches leaving factory lines. The strong performance saw January output reach its highest level in 16 years, some 28.0% above pre-pandemic 2019 levels, reflecting the sector’s health as it builds on 2023’s positive performance.

Output was driven by exports, with global demand for British-built commercial vehicles up 49.8% to 7,965 units. Nearly seven in 10 (67.8%) were produced for international markets, with the EU remaining the UK’s biggest overseas customer ­– responsible for 97.4% of exports. Volumes for the UK market, however, recorded a slight decline, falling by -4.0% to 3,791 units ­– a reduction equal to just 156 units.

British commercial vehicle production output rose 26.9% in January, the best start to a year since 2008 / Picture: Stellantis

Overall manufacturing growth is expected to continue throughout the year, with light commercial vehicle volumes set to rise to 173,500 units and hold steady ahead as the sector benefits from new model activity and major investments into zero emission vehicle production.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “A positive start to the year for UK car production bodes well for the industry and the many thousands of livelihoods on which it depends. There can be no room for complacency, however, given economic headwinds and geopolitical tensions. There must be a relentless commitment to competitiveness, building on the significant recent investments into the sector. The forthcoming Budget is a chance for government to do just that by introducing measures to boost UK automotive manufacturing, focused on energy, investment competitiveness and market demand.

“A positive start to the year sets the stage for a promising 2024, with the sector delivering the best result in 16 years and recently announced green investment adding to the optimism. Ongoing economic and geopolitical headwinds, however, mean we must enhance the UK’s offer as a competitive manufacturing destination. The upcoming Budget presents an opportunity for the government to implement measures to do just that­ – supporting affordable energy, stimulating infrastructure investment and boosting market demand.”

This content is copyright of Zenoot Ltd and its originator. You can use extracts, share or link to this page and you may draw the attention of others to content posted on our site. Bulk copying of text is not permitted. You can view our Terms of Use here.