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UK: SMMT confident on 2015 automaker output

By Graeme Roberts | 20 March 2015

UK automakers assembled around 250,000 cars in the first two months of 2015 with nearly 130,000 built in February.

The number built for the domestic market rose 21.1% year on year to 33,813 units.

"The outlook for the car manufacturing sector continues to be upbeat. More than a quarter of a million cars have been made in Britain so far this year – a steady performance, which has been led by a strong domestic market," said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

"The UK’s appetite for British-built cars has consistently grown, with the number of cars produced for the home market increasing 51.9% since 2011. However, political instability abroad has hit certain export areas which will invariably have a small impact on total output."

Car makers have invested heavily in UK production facilities, and this is expected to come to fruition in the coming year, the SMMT said. The number of UK-produced components in British cars has risen steeply, meaning resilient car output will benefit the whole sector.

Car manufacturing Feb-14 Feb-15
Total 133,730 129,915
Home 27,913 33,813
Export 105,817 96,102
% export 79.1% 74.0%

All data from SMMT

Commercial vehicle manufacturing was up 33.7% in February to 8,344 units. There was a production increases of 6.5% in the first two months of 2015, with 13,787 CVs manufactured.

"The surge in output from UK commercial vehicle manufacturers in February has put the sector on a strong footing for the year ahead," said Mike . "Demand from the UK’s prospering domestic market is driving growth, buoyed by a strong appetite from overseas buyers, with exports in February up by more than 13% on the same month last year."

CV manufacturing Feb-14 Feb-15 % Change YTD-14 YTD-15 % Change
Total 6,239 8,344 33.7% 12,946 13,787 6.5%
Home 2,967 4,632 56.1% 6,438 7,973 23.8%
Export 3,272 3,712 13.4% 6,508 5,814 -10.7%
% export 52.4% 44.5%   50.3% 42.2%  

Engine output slipped slightly YTD end February as 207,773 units were made in February and 414,459 so far this year.

"UK engine output in February has yielded a steady performance for the year to date,” said Hawes.

"With new Euro-6 technology coming to the market, manufacturers have invested heavily to build new, cleaner engines and volumes are expected to increase in the near future. A growing number of UK components are being used in British-built cars, which also stands to benefit the engine sector at production and supply chain levels."

Engine manufacturing Feb-14 Feb-15 % Change YTD-14 YTD-15 % Change
Total 215,199 207,773 -3.5% 421,490 414,459 -1.7%
Home 77,421 70,816 -8.5% 148,437 149,776 0.9%
Export 137,778 136,957 -0.6% 273,053 264,683 -3.1%
% export 64.0% 65.9%   64.8% 63.9%