Car production speeds up UK manufacturing recovery

According to the latest research from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), UK vehicle production is leading a recovery in the manufacturing sector with output in 2010 up 27.8 per cent.

’UK manufacturers exported more than a million vehicles last year underlining the competitiveness and desirability of the current model line-up,’ said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.

Car production rose 27 per cent over the year and 10.6 per cent in December, while commercial vehicles enjoyed a steeper recovery, rising 35.7 per cent over the year and 19.4 per cent in the month.

Engine production in 2010 also grew robustly – 2.39 million units were manufactured. UK engine manufacturers produced 2,386,717 engines in 2010, up 16.2 per cent on 2009.

In addition, 72.1 per cent of all engines produced in the UK were sent abroad, bolstering export-led manufacturing growth. Petrol engines accounted for 58.3 per cent of the total produced, and the share of those that were exported rose to 41.7 per cent.

The news from Europe was a little less optimistic, with the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association reporting that during 2010 the EU market for new passenger cars declined by 5.5 per cent, with just 13,360,599 new units registered throughout the year. The 2010 results were marked by the ending of government fleet-renewal schemes in many EU countries.

In December 2010, the association said that demand for new cars declined by 23.9 per cent in Spain, by 21.7 in Italy and by 18 per cent in the UK. The French market remained stable with a decline of just 0.7 per cent while the German market expanded by 6.9 per cent.