Bumper month for UK car production in May

Auto manufacturers enjoyed a booming trade in the month of May thanks to increased demand for British-made vehicles overseas.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

One sector that is doing surprisingly well, given that the financial crisis has blown the economy out of the water, is British car manufacturing. Yet again, this month figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 141,146 cars rolled off the production line in the month of May. That is 42% higher than the output for May 2011, and is the most the UK has produced in a single month since 2004. We’re on a roll!

The annual average for output is so far on course to be 17.3% higher this year compared with 2011, but the SMMT says this is partly because of last year’s tsunami in Japan, which caused a crash in manufacturing supply chains across Asia, Europe and in the US. Even stripping out the effect of the disaster, the society argues, production in the UK would have been up last year, too.

Britain has seen a flurry of manufacturers promising investment in UK car manufacturing: Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan have pledged to create thousands of jobs in the country this year. America’s General Motors also offered support to the industry, deciding to use the Ellesmere Port manufacturing plant as the location for the new Vauxhall Astra. The move saves 2,100 existing jobs (which were at risk), and creates 700 new ones.

So why all this investment in British car manufacturing? Well, the massive boom in the Chinese and Indian markets is starting to slow down thanks to the ongoing debt crisis in western economies – they’re not buying as much from the eastern giants. As supply starts to exceed demand, thus the price of manufacturing creeps upward in their domestic markets, and the economic viability of British factories is improving. That, and the quality of our expertise and experience is second to none, the SMMT would hasten to add…

With figures like these, at least we know the UK is capable of getting industries back on track after a downturn. Here’s hoping others will be able to follow suit when the upturn finally comes…

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