Car production saw its fifth successive month of growth in January, according to the latest figures.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported that output in the first month of 2024 rose 21% year on year, with 82,997 units being manufactured. Most of the vehicles being made were for the export market, but domestic demand saw the biggest spike in growth, up 64% from the same month last year.

The EU was the largest global market for British-built cars, taking more than half (53.2%) of exports, followed by the US (15.0%), China (10.5%), Japan (2.8%) and Australia (2.3%).

Shipments to the EU, US and China all rose, by 5.0%, 81.1% and 33.2% respectively.

Electric vehicles (including plug-in hybrid and hybrids) accounted for 35% of UK production.

“A positive start to the year for UK car production bodes well for the industry and the many thousands of livelihoods on which it depends,” said Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief executive.

“There can be no room for complacency, however, given economic headwinds and geopolitical tensions. There must be a relentless commitment to competitiveness, building on the significant recent investments into the sector. The forthcoming Budget is a chance for Government to do just that by introducing measures to boost UK automotive manufacturing, focused on energy, investment competitiveness and market demand.”

It is not yet known how much of an impact the incidents involving shipping in the Red Sea will have on car manufacturing this year, but the most recent independent outlook forecast UK production of car and light vans would rise by 3% in 2024.