April rebound in UK car manufacturing

After a sluggish first quarter, UK car output rose in April according to trade body SMMT, though commercial vehicle manufacturing continued to decline.

Over 110,000 cars were manufactured in April 2013 compared to 94,352 in April 2012. This represents an 16.6% rise in production compared to last year.

The rebound has been welcomed by SMMT following a relatively disappointing start to 2013 for the UK automotive sector overall  – despite record growth at a few key players like Jaguar Land Rover.

SMMT says the growth has come thanks to strong domestic demand and buoyant export markets outside Europe. The eurozone itself remains a barrier to higher productivity.

SMMT’s figures show it was not only final car assembly that rose in April. UK engine manufacturing also showed a 10% rise compare to last year with over 211,000 engines produced.

The weak point in automotive productivity seems to be in commercial vehicle manufacturing which continued a long period of decline, though at a slower rate.

Mike Baunton, SMMT interim CEO tempered the news with the observation that: “There is growth at some UK plants which helped to ease the rate of decline compared to previous months this year.”

He continued by acknowledging that 2013 is proving to be a difficult year for British commercial vehicle as they experience weak demand from export markets, particularly Europe.

However, Mr Baunton said that “Rising output for the home market is encouraging, demonstrating that UK operators are keen to exploit the diverse variety of CVs made in the UK from light vans to double-decker buses and large trucks.”