UK car manufacturing sees a promising year-on-year spike

Hand holding a car wrench and hand holding a thumbs up sign in car garage

Britain’s carmakers can rejoice as September yields an impressive 39.8% increase in manufacturing output compared to the same month last year.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported that 88,230 vehicles left British factories last month – that’s 25,105 more than the same month last year.

The year-on-year figures show it’s been the best September in terms of growth since 2020, and 2023’s strongest month of growth so far.

Car output for the international market up by 32.2%

Figures show that output increased for both domestic and export markets last month. Production for the UK rose by 65.9% to 23,503 units, and overseas shipments by 32.2% to 64,727 units.

The split for major markets includes the US (up 19.8% to 6,591 units), China (up 28.2% to 4,776 units) and Turkey (up 212.0% to 4,162 units).

However, the EU continues to be the leading auto trading partner for the UK, with 37,563 units shipped over the period, representing 58.0% of the sector’s overseas trade.

Electric vehicle output up by 41.5%

When looking at 2023’s figures, electric vehicles account for more than a third of Britain’s car exports to global markets (37.5% of a total 524,973 units).

The increasing demand for EVs shows a promising future for the UK’s motor trade with the EU, provided that the tariff-free trade set out in the UK-EU Trade Cooperation Agreement is maintained.

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes speaks to this, saying: “A particularly strong period of car making is good news for the UK, given the thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment that depend on the sector.

“With countries around the world shifting to zero-emission motoring, Britain is well placed to be a global EV manufacturing hub if the investment and trading conditions are right.

“Given the increasing importance of electrified car production, the first and urgent step is for the UK and EU to agree to delay the tougher rules of origin requirements that are due imminently.

“This would give the necessary breathing space for automotive sectors on both sides of the Channel to scale up gigafactories and green supply chains, both of which are essential for a stable, long-term transition.”

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