UK car manufacturing output grew 7.8% in July, ending seven consecutive months of decline.
The growth has been linked to the impending 67-plate change in September, pushing output up to 136,397 vehicles across the period, compared with 126,566 in July 2016.
This brings the year-to-date output to 1,003,053, which is 1.6% down on the same period last year. Much of this decline comes from slowing domestic demand. Exports remained strong, falling by just 0.2% on 2016. Year to date, 78.8% of UK-built cars have been sent overseas compared with 77.7% in the same period a year ago.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which published the figures, said: “UK car production lines stepped up a gear in July, as usual bringing forward some production to help manage demand ahead of September and routine summer factory shutdowns.
“As the timing and length of these manufacturing pauses can shift each year, market performance comparisons for July and August should always be treated with caution. But, as long as the economic conditions at home and abroad stay broadly stable, we expect new car production to remain in line with expectations for the rest of 2017.”
The new figures accompany updated numbers for Britain’s used car market. Previous figures suggested the used car market had fallen by 5.1% year to date, caused by an alarming 13.5% decline in the second quarter, but the SMMT now claims ‘amended’ figures show it shrank by just 0.7% in the year to date. The calculation error was linked to an algorithm issue. The updated figure shows that used car sales have mirrored the new car market – something experts had predicted previously.