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European car demand speeds up

24 Apr 2014 at 12:04

European demand is putting the pedal to the metal for UK car production, latest figures indicate.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) found that 142,158 vehicles were turned out across the UK in March, representing a 12% increase on figures from the same period last year.

That brings this year's production haul up to just under 405,000 vehicles, a rise of nearly three per cent on the same quarter of 2013.

Mike Hawes, the SMMT chief executive, says the growth rate marks a bold advance following a period of time in which changes to production came into effect. He noted that the past seven months have seen demand from Europe surge - a fillip for British manufacturers, with Europe as their key market.

He said that production is on course to reach record-breaking levels within the next three years.

Production in the commercial vehicle market has dropped more than 17% in the past month, with home market production dropping by as much as 27.8% and export down to 6.1%.

Mr Hawes said that 2013's production restructuring had some effect on these figures, in tandem with the increase in demand in commercial sectors. But he pointed to reasons to be cheerful, namely early signs of a rally in European markets which he said must give manufacturers hope in the months to come.

Copyright Press Association 2014