The rise is the biggest since May 1976 and comes on the back of low 2009 volumes and improved sales following the introduction of the global scrappage scheme.
UK engine production was up 26.3 per cent during in January, while commercial vehicle production was up 9.6 per cent - the second consecutive monthly rise.
Paul Everitt, chief executive of the SMMT, said: ’Vehicle and engine production rose for a third successive month in January, demonstrating the continued success of global scrappage incentive schemes.
‘Despite the close of the UK scheme next month, SMMT expects a modest recovery in 2010 output as economic growth, a competitive exchange rate and the introduction of innovative new models to UK plants help to lift manufacturing levels above those seen in 2009.’
For the rest of the year modest growth is expected, compared to the 25-year low in 2009.