Car manufacturing in the UK rose in May for the first time in 10 months, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Production increased by 13.3%, with 62,284 units rolling off factory floors. Output has been falling since June 2021, although this upsurge should be seen in context. Production levels are still 46.3% below where they were in May 2019, due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, issues with the supply chain, economic uncertainty and the war in Ukraine.

Exports accounted for 82% of new cars built, with more than half of these destined for the EU. 22.6% of cars produced were fuelled from means other than petrol or diesel, which is 3% higher than the same figure a year ago.

Despite the good month in May, overall the figures for 2022 so far show a fall in output of 23.2%.  

“May’s return to growth for UK car output is hugely welcome after 10 months of decline, indicating the sector’s fundamental resilience,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

“Any recovery, however, will be gradual as supply chain deliveries remain erratic, business costs volatile and geopolitical instability still very real. With the industry racing to decarbonise, we need to safeguard manufacturing competitiveness, drive investment and develop the skill base.”

“Government and industry have a role to play in this transformation and collaboration will be essential if the UK is to remain at the forefront of automotive innovation,” said Hawes.