Impressive month of growth for UK automotive industry

UK car production output increased 40.6% in August compared to the same month last year, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Almost 100,000 (99,919) were built in the month, lifting year-to-date production volumes past one million – a gain of 1.6%.

Mike Hawes, chief executive, SMMT.
Mike Hawes, chief executive, SMMT.

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes commented: “The quieter summer months are traditionally subject to fluctuation as production is paused for essential upgrades, and August’s strong growth wasn’t unexpected given the 22.1% fall in the same month last year when the 2014 holiday period fell.

“The rise also follows a flatter July in line with this year’s earlier scheduled shutdown. That said, with an overall increase of 1.6% so far in 2015 and the strongest year-to-date performance since 2008, the industry is in a good position.”

SMMT figures also show that UK engine output rose 15.8% in August, with 112,777 units produced.

There was also a boost for both home and export markets, with demand up 15.1% and 16.3% respectively.

According to the trade body, year-to-date volumes of engines are remaining steady at 1,562,503, though that is down 3.4% on 2014.

The chief executive continued: “A shift in holiday schedules meant the industry’s seasonal pause in production arrived a month earlier than usual, resulting in bigger fluctuations in output.

Engineering Automotive Line Stock Image
The UK has produced more than 1.5m engines produced in 2015 to date.

“However, with more than 1.5m engines produced in the year-to-date, and significant investment in new plants set to be realised this autumn, the prospects for future month-on-month growth look promising.”

The UK’s commercial vehicle (CV) manufacturing sector continued its recovery in August, posting a seventh consecutive month of growth.

SMMT data shows that output for the month rose by 70.3% to 3,628 units, while year-to-date volumes were up 34.1% to 61,595.

With exports up 85% on the same month last year and demand in home market growing by almost 60% (59.6%), Hawes noted: “In stark comparison to last summer, when some plants took additional seasonal shutdown for retooling, this August saw CV manufactures post impressive growth.

“It is particularly encouraging to see the industry continue to bounce back following a 2014 performance subdued by regulatory changes and industry restructuring. Fleet operator renewal patterns are now returning to normal, prompting strong gains in demand in both domestic and export markets.”