UK car production ‘bounces back’ in July

Car production in the United Kingdom rose 7.8 percent in July, reversing a 7-month decline in the home market, an industry body reports.

The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that British manufacturers produced 136,397 new cars in July 2017, compared with 126,556 in July 2016.

UK car production Nissan GBProducing the Nissan Juke and Qashkai models at the Sunderland plant. Image: Nissan GB

Within this total, UK car production for the home market rose by 17.7 percent with 4,490 more vehicles made than in July 2016, the first increase since November 2016.

Production destined or the export market also increased by 5.3 percent (5,341 more vehicles than same time last year).

Exports dominate

The export market is by far the largest for UK car manufacturers; it takes up nearly 80 percent of car production.

In July 2017, UK car production destined for export came to 106,525 vehicles compared with 29,872 for the domestic market.

UK manufacturers now export new cars to 160 different countries worldwide.

Summer shutdown effect

SMMT note that the upbeat July figures is likely due to car producers ramping up output ahead of summer plant shutdowns for maintenance, re-tooling, and upgrades.

The bounce-back in production for the home market also reflects the fact that higher sales for this market are expected in September, one the two times in the year when the number plates change.

In terms of year-to-date, UK car production “remains solid,” say SMMT.

UK car production July 17UK car production July 2017

‘In line with expectations’

Cars made since January 2017 passed the 1 million mark in July. While this is slightly lower than the same time last year, it is “in line with expectations.”

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes suggests that “market performance comparisons for July and August should always be treated with caution,” because of readying for the September home market and the impact of routine summer shutdowns, which can vary in duration and timing from year to year.

Nevertheless, he remarks, “as long as the economic conditions at home and abroad stay broadly stable we expect new car production to remain in line with expectations for the rest of 2017.”