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UK car manufacturing turned down in October. However, it is ahead in the first ten months and the SMMT data shows the cumulative total is 2.8% ahead of last year.

The SMMT said the small monthly decline reflected model changes.

A total of 1,318,452 new cars rolled off UK production lines in the first 10 months of the year, the best performance since 2005 and up 2.8% year-to-date. Exports drove volumes in October, with foreign demand up 1.5%, while the domestic market fell marginally month-on-month.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: "Despite a small drop in overall output last month, the industry has delivered a robust performance so far this year, particularly in terms of exports. Given the slowdown we've seen in several key global markets in recent months, UK automotive manufacturing still remains in a strong position."

John Leech, head of automotive at KPMG UK, put the downturn in October down to new models and some weakness in key export markets. He said: "While today's car manufacturing figures show production hitting the highest year-to-date level in a decade, the overall output fell slightly in October compared to the same month last year. The reasons for this drop are twofold: the seasonal cooling down as a number of UK plants prepare for new models, such as the new Vauxhall Astra being launched at Ellesmere Port later this month; and weakness in demand in the Chinese and Russian markets.

"However, this is a blip, rather than a trend. Undoubtedly 2016 will see more cars made in the UK than in the previous decade, and I forecast that car production will continue to grow in future years, peaking at 2 million in 2020 to beat the all-time production record." 

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By GlobalData

More than 1.5m cars were built in the UK in 2014. UK vehicle production is also heavily export-focused, with over 78% of production exported in 2014, a significant proportion of which went to Europe.

A recent report issued by the SMMT said that annual car production in the UK is forecast to hit a new record of two million units by 2020.

Car manufacturing Oct-14 Oct-15 % Change YTD-14 YTD-15 % Change
Total 150,060 148,976 -0.7% 1,282,080 1,318,452 2.8%
Home 33,895 31,078 -8.3% 281,791 309,076 9.7%
Export 116,165 117,898 1.5% 1,000,289 1,009,376 0.9%
% export 77.4% 79.1% 78.0% 76.6%