Car manufacturing in the UK bounced back in April after a subdued first quarter, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported today.
Production increased by 16.6% compared to the same month a year earlier, with 110,033 cars rolling out of the factories.
This mainly reflects demand in the home market, with production of cars destined for UK buyers rising by 66.1% year-on-year. Demand in Europe is still weak and remains a concern, the industry body said.
Mike Baunton, SMMT interim chief executive, noted that the sluggish first quarter was impacted by this year’s early Easter, as well as the continuing uncertainty across Europe.
The significant growth in output for the domestic market reflects trends in new car buying in the UK. A focus in the industry on growing in new markets, beyond Europe, has provided further buoyancy to volumes, Baunton added.
Commercial vehicle makers saw production falling further in April, with output down 3.3% to 8,623 units.
The SMMT pointed out, however, that the rate of decline eased compared to previous months this year and output for the home market grew. While this rising output for the home market is encouraging, 2013 is proving to be a difficult year for UK commercial vehicle manufacturers with weak demand from export markets, particularly Europe, Baunton said.
Figures were also released by the SMMT for UK engine production in April, showing a 9.9% increase in output to 211,452 units. Volumes for the UK market rose, in line with registration trends. Export volumes have fallen in the year to date but showed a modest increase in April.
The SMMT also announced today that a ‘technology stream’ at next month’s SMMT International Automotive Summit will bring together experts from across the industry to explore the prospects for automotive innovation in the UK.