UK CV volumes rose in May with output growing 13.8% to 7,748 units, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The home market drove output, with demand up 23.5% to 3,826 while production for export rose 5.7% to 3,922 putting the overall sector up by 2.7% to 39,935 year to date.

The news comes as European commercial vehicle markets reported a 17th month of growth as the region continued its economic recovery. New commercial vehicle registrations in Europe grew 16.4% in May with the market up 13.5% for the first five months of 20161.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "It's good to see UK commercial vehicle manufacturing performing strongly in May which puts it on track for a positive 2016. The commercial vehicle market is linked to economic confidence in the UK and Europe, with 88% of UK-built CV exports shipped to the continent last year. For this performance to continue, we need to ensure we maintain free access to our main markets as well as pursuing new global opportunities."

Meanwhile, UK engine production rose 14.6% in May to 218,674 units as major plant investments were realised. Domestic demand grew 41.4% to 98,076 units, offsetting a 0.7% fall in production for export (120,598). Overseas markets take lion's share of output, with 631,782 engines exported year to date, down 6.4%. Total output for the year so far was up 7.7% to 1,198,190.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "It's pleasing to see the billion pound investments made into new UK engine facilities last year delivering results in 2016, with another strong month of growth for the sector, particularly in the domestic market. As May's figures show, exports still make up the lion's share of manufacturing volumes so it is important we maintain favourable trade conditions for future investment and growth."