June bounce for UK car production

A small boost for UK manufacturing. Car production increased 1.8% last month according to new Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures. The SMMT claims 120,036 vehicles were made in June. Overall it claims car manufacturing is up 4.1% during the first half of 2011 in total.

Change of gear

"UK vehicle manufacturing saw a welcome return to growth in June, with strong demand from key export markets," said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. "Sustained investment in R&D, skills and new products by the UK automotive industry is helping to re-balance the economy."

Everitt claims significant challenges remain. "The economic recovery is still fragile, so government and industry must focus their energies on encouraging growth and maintaining UK competitiveness."

Bear in mind that car production slipped in many countries, including the UK, in April and May following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami aftermath. Production was compromised for a range of UK and European manufacturers, especially for electrical kit. Toyota in Derbyshire had to close briefly.

Move over Mercedes

Which means June's figures look artificially raised. Much of UK car production is also export-led, given the largely shattered state of domestic confidence.

But UK car production appears to be enjoying a mini-renaissance, with reliability and quality woes seemingly binned. Land Rover recently came top in its sector in the Strategic Vision Total Quality Index. Export sales, particularly of exec and luxury models, are booming in the Far East.

It's not such a good look for commercial vehicles. UK manufacturing slipped 2.2% to 10,425 last month, which is almost 5% down on the year-to-date so far.

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