New models have helped boost car production in April with year-on-year figures showing a 5.2 per cent rise in demand, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
A total of 127,952 cars were built in British factories following a double-digit decline in the same month last year when the Easter bank holiday disrupted output. Growth was also buoyed by production ramping up at several plants to deliver new and updated models.
According to SMMT, manufacturing for home and overseas markets grew by 7.3 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively, with 103,662 cars built for export in the month and accounting for 81 per cent of production.
However, year-to-date, overall output remains down -3.9 per cent, with a total of 568,378 cars leaving production lines in the first four months. Four fifths of these were exported, as domestic demand fell -10.3 per cent against a less substantial -2.2 per cent decline in vehicles destined for global markets.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “While April’s growth isn’t altogether surprising given the significant decline in output this time last year, it is good to see earlier planned investment into new models delivering results.
“However, given such investment was made on the basis of the free and frictionless trade afforded by our EU membership, the ability of UK plants to attract the next wave of new models and drive future growth depends upon maintaining these competitive conditions after Brexit. That’s why it is critical that government acts to safeguard our participation in the EU customs union and single market.”
Commenting on April’s production figures, Stuart Apperley, director and head of UK automotive at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “If falling inflation, together with a delay in any rise in UK interest rates, boosts consumers’ spending power in the months ahead, then these could all lead to the sector stabilising during the rest of the year.
“But there’s no doubt that the major threats that have weighed heavy on the industry in recent months still remain.
“What manufacturers – and the whole supply chain – need more than anything is certainty: around not just our government’s attitude towards diesel but that of other markets around the world, and around the potential for frictionless trade with the EU for years to come.”