Car production enjoys first-quarter boost

UK car production rose six per cent in the first three months of 2023, to 219,887 units, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Factories produced 12,540 units more than quarter one last year, driven by exports which increased 6.6% and represented almost eight in 10 cars made.

March rounded off the period with volumes up 6.1% to 81,605 as, again, exports drove growth, up 10.4% to 61,546 units, offsetting a 5.1% decline in car production for the UK.

Meanwhile, manufacturers continued to manufacture the latest hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles, with combined volumes of these models surging 75% in March to 32,546 units.

Four in 10 cars built in the month featured ultra-low or zero emission powertrain technology.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “A second consecutive month of growth for UK car production gives cause for optimism, though volumes are still well below pre-pandemic levels. If British car manufacturing is to get back towards those levels, with all the economic benefits that brings, we need to match the best in global competitiveness. That means driving down the high cost of UK energy, reforming business rates and vigorously promoting Britain globally to secure the investments essential to a zero carbon automotive future.”