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New car production in the UK is up 46.6% as lockdown subsides

UK automobile production rose 46.6% last month, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Most factories have been at full capacity since the first national lockdown brought almost the entire industry to a standstill.

A total of 115,498 cars were produced on UK shores in March 2021, compared to 78,767 in March 2020 when factories were forcibly closed as the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Despite the increase, however, production is 22.9%, or 24,047 cars, below the March five-year average.

SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said: “The first surge in UK automobile production in 18 months is an important step in the right direction, but it contradicts the underlying situation.

“With factories closed for much of March 2020, production always rose but remained below average as production lost around £ 11 billion last year.”

Beyond the pandemic, the increase in production was due to a significant jump in exports, as 95,229 cars were shipped abroad last month – 54% more than in March 2020.

During this period, exports to the EU, the USA and Asia rose by 33.5%, 36.4% and 54.1% respectively.

Meanwhile, production for the domestic market also played a role, increasing by 19.4%.

Most encouraging of the UK government’s environmental efforts, including the proposed 2030 ban on sales of all new ICE vehicles, demand for hybrid, plug-in hybrids and electric cars rose 13.7% year over year, bringing the total to May 20 % of cars now made in the UK are alternatively refueled.

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