UK car production rose 1.8% to 120,036 units in June and 4.1% to 662,852 in the first half of 2011.

Exports were up 14.6% to 97,017 for the month and 19.5% to 550,085 for the first six months.

Commercial vehicle output dipped 2.2% to 10,425 in June and 4.9% to 61,420 in the first half. Exports were down 35.8% to 4,680 last month and 20.1% to 35,934 in the first half.

A significant maker of engines at the likes of Ford's Dagenham Diesel Centre and Bridgend plants and Toyota's Deeside factory, the UK last month produced 239,450 units, up 0.8%, exporting 171,783 (up 1.7%). Year to date the tally was 1,329,030 made (+4.7%) and 970,217 exported (+4.8%).

"UK vehicle manufacturing saw a welcome return to growth in June, with strong demand from key export markets," said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.