Car manufacturing in the UK is significantly up in 2012 compared with the previous year, thanks to increased demand from overseas and growth in the UK's engine-building industry, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This contrasts with domestic car sales, which have decreased very slightly.
SMMT figures reveal that in 2012, 23.5 per cent more cars were built in February compared with the same month last year, meaning output is up 19.6 per cent for the year to date.
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said the figures show a "trend of strong export-led growth, confirming the importance of manufacturing to a rebalanced and prosperous economy. The UK automotive sector continues to attract investment and generate new jobs."
Everitt also appealed for government help to maintain growth. He said, "Despite recent success there can be no complacency and it is essential the Chancellor uses next week’s Budget to deliver on its growth strategy and boost the UK’s competitiveness by encouraging private sector investment in R&D, capital equipment and skills.”
Engine-building in the UK increased 3.6 per cent in February, contributing to a 4.3 per cent rise for the year so far.
The increases are in contrast to stagnant car sales, which are down 0.8 per cent for 2012 following a 2.5 per cent fall in February when 61,868 new cars were registered. Private sales bolstered that total following an increase of 2.1 per cent for the year to date, while March will provide a better indicator to market trends with around 350,000 12-plate registrations expected during the traditional sales hump.
Ford was the industry's biggest winner in February, achieving over 1400 more sales than the same month last year, partly due to strong performance of the Focus, which became the UK's best-selling car following 11 months at the top for the Fiesta.