UK commercial vehicle (CV) production returned to growth in October following a September decline, rising 47.1% year on year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A total of 12,853 vans, buses, trucks, coaches and taxis rolled off British assembly lines, up 4,113 units on last year for the best percentage gain of the year.

In a sign of the significance of the recovery, the increase was the best October tally since 2008, up 41.4% on pre-pandemic 2019 output.

October 2023 production was driven by exports, up 47% year on year to 8,680 units as 67.5% of output was shipped abroad. The EU was the largest international market, as usual, receiving 96% of the month’s exports.

Home market orders rose 47.2% to 4,173 CVs.

Year to date (YTD), output rose 15.3% to 98,610 units, up 58.6% on YTD 2019 and the best 10 month tally since 2011.

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By GlobalData

Exports continued a double digit rise, rising 21.4% to 62,229 units while home market production was up 6.1% to 36,381 units.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “A return to growth after September’s dip highlights the sector’s resilience.”

The SMMT said its latest “independent” production outlook projected UK light commercial vehicle plants would see a 34.2% increase (27,293 units) in full year output versus 2022, manufacturing 107,000 LCVs this year.

Further growth is expected in 2024.