The signs are good from UK motor manufacturing, with car production rising for the fourth month in succession.

Output was 26.9% higher than in May 2022, with nearly 80,000 vehicles leaving factories, 16,762 more year on year. The latest figures, released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), also shows double digit growth for domestic and overseas orders. Orders from the UK increased by 45.4%, while exports rose by 22.9%.  

Production of low or no emissions vehicles made up 35% of all UK vehicles made in May. Combined, hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicle (BEV) volumes were up 95.4% in May to 27,636 units.

The EU was the UK’s biggest global market, accounting for 56% of overseas shipments. UK car exports to the next largest markets, the US, China, Japan and Australia, represented less than a third (28.3%) of exports in May, and, at a total of 17,798 units, about half of all those sent into the EU.

“Another month of growth for UK car production is good news and a sign that, despite challenging economic conditions, the industry’s foundations are strong”, said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

“But with weak GDP growth, high inflation and rising interest rates, it’s crucial that UK car factories stay globally competitive”, said Hawes. “All political parties must recognise the strategic importance of this sector and back our call for an industrial strategy that supports local production, assures export market access and attracts further investment to safeguard our future.”