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UK commercial vehicle (CV) production increased by 23.9% year on year in June, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), with 4,144 vans, trucks and buses leaving production lines last month.

However, this followed a particularly weak June 2019 when output fell by more than half due to key model changeovers.

Even though production ramped up in June, the first six months of 2020 saw total output decline by 24.8% to 26,421 vehicles as COVID-19 related lockdown of global markets forced factories to be shuttered.

First half production for the UK market decreased by 23.3% to 11,808, while exports fell 26.0% to 14,613 units.

Exports accounted for 55.3% of all UK CV manufacturing compared with 56.2% a year ago – with the majority heading for the EU.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Although growth in CV manufacturing in June is undoubtedly good news, this does not indicate a return to business as normal.

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By GlobalData

“The sector remains almost 9,000 units behind 2019 which will be difficult to catch back given many plants are still operating at a reduced capacity.

“The government urgently needs to assist this critical sector by building operator confidence domestically and by ensuring competitive conditions are in place to drive long term growth and safeguard jobs.”