Car production continues upwards trend

British car manufacturing made further gains in April with output increasing for the third month in a row.

It was up 9.9%, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), with 66,527 cars rolling out of factory gates.

Meanwhile, UK factories continued to turn out increasing numbers of hybrid electric (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs), with combined volumes up 56.2% in April and representing well over a third of all production (37.7%).

The news comes as the UK and EU automotive sectors face a looming cliff-edge with rules of origin agreed in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, governing local content for electric vehicles and batteries, due to get tougher from 1 January 2024. These rules pose significant challenges to manufacturers on both sides of the Channel and raise the prospect of punitive tariffs being applied to electric vehicles alone.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “UK car production is starting to motor again, good news for the sector and the many thousands of jobs and livelihoods it sustains. These figures also show how exports, particularly to Europe, continue to be the foundation of British automotive manufacturing so we must do all we can to safeguard the competitiveness of these trading relationships. Most immediately, this means finding a solution to the rules of origin challenge faced by manufacturers on both sides of the Channel, else we risk the application of tariffs – and therefore unnecessary cost – on the very vehicles we are trying to encourage consumers to purchase.”