UK car output in November touches 17-year high

Car production in the UK in November increased 12.8% on-year to 169,247 vehicles, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the country’s motor industry trade association.

The numbers marked a 17-year high. Apart from monthly figures, the trade body threw light on the year to date (YTD) numbers. As many as 1,613,495 vehicles rolled off the UK production lines in the first 11 months of 2016, marking the sector’s best performance since 1999. The YTD figures were already 56,000 units more than the year-end 2015 car output figures.

Segment-wise, production for both the export and domestic markets was strong in November. Export production was up 12.5% on-year to 120,484 units, while domestic production rose 14% to 33,745 units.

As for the YTD output for both the markets, domestic demand saw a 4.2% increase to 354,586 units, while cars for exports climbed 11.1% to 1,258,909 units; the YTD export numbers set a new record by beating 2015’s high by 2.5%.

The robust figures come at a time when the UK carmakers are concerned that the Brexit vote could have a negative impact on their business. They fear losing access to the EU single market will lead to tariffs which in turn will increase the cost price of cars.

The SMMT had said in November that the UK motor industry faced a £4.5bn ($5.56bn) car tariff threat. It had then suggested that tariffs imposed by the EU on cars alone post Brexit could be at least £2.7bn annually for imports and £1.8bn for exports.

Mike Hawes, SMMT CEO, said in a statement: “Made in Britain is a badge coveted by car buyers worldwide, and these latest figures highlight not just that international appeal but the fact that the UK is a globally competitive place to make cars. These latest results are the product of significant investments made over the past few years, but which will continue only if we can maintain the competitive trading conditions that have enabled the UK to become an automotive success story.”

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