Booming Britain sees car manufacturing grow 40 per cent in September - 'very promising!'

Car production

More than 37,500 UK-built cars were shipped to the bloc in September

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 26/10/2023

- 10:29

The UK has produced almost 660,000 vehicles so far this year

UK car manufacturing rose by an impressive 39.8 per cent in September with more than 88,000 vehicles leaving British factory lines last month.

The total number of vehicles manufactured was 25,105 more than the same time last year, based on new data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

September has now been described as a “triple success”, with the strongest month of growth in 2023, the best September since 2020 and the UK now reaching almost 660,000 units this year – 15 per cent higher than the same period in 2022.

The number of UK-made vehicles exported to major markets also increased with growth seen in the United States, China and Turkey.

The European Union continues to be the UK’s largest trade partner, with more than 37,500 UK-built cars being shipped to the bloc in September.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said the strong period of car making was “good news” for the UK, with billions of pounds worth of investment and thousands of jobs being supported.

He said: “With countries around the world shifting to zero-emission motoring, Britain is well placed to be a global EV manufacturing hub if the investment and trading conditions are right.

“Given the increasing importance of electrified car production, the first and urgent step is for the UK and EU to agree to delay the tougher rules of origin requirements that are due imminently.

“This would give the necessary breathing space for automotive sectors on both sides of the Channel to scale up gigafactories and green supply chains, both of which are essential for a stable, long-term transition.”

There are fears that the agreement between the UK and EU could go down to the wire or not see a consensus at all, with many predicting this could have serious consequences for manufacturers and drivers.

Estimates suggest that UK-built EVs could cost an additional £3,600 in Europe and EU-made electric cars would cost £3,400 in this country.

Car manufacturers could also be hit with a £3.4billion bill, which could see some leave the UK, removing billions of pounds from the economy.

However, there is support from those in the manufacturing industry and Government, with Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch saying she was “very optimistic” about a resolution.

Commenting on the SMMT data, John Veichmanis, CEO of carwow, said: “After a slower August, it’s promising to see the strongest month for UK car manufacturing so far this year - and the best September since 2020.

“The UK manufacture of electric vehicles is up again, putting Britain in a solid position to become a leading EV manufacturing hub, particularly for EU countries as Britain's leading trading partners.

“While exports of EVs are strong, up considerably from last year, there's appetite amongst consumers in the UK to switch to EVs too.

“The growth in EV manufacturing is hugely positive for the automotive industry, but more broadly must be met with increased investment in infrastructure to get people to make the switch.”

Similarly, Lisa Watson, director of sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, explained how it was promising for sales and production in the UK to have such a boost in September.


Car production

Car manufacturers could also be hit with a £3.4billion bill


She added: “The Government’s five-year delay of the initial 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles may have put some manufacturers in a challenging position, and navigating changes in legislation and consumer demand means many will have to adapt their plans to keep the UK’s automotive output on track to return to pre-pandemic levels.

“Manufacturers will also need to consider customers’ concerns over affordability whilst thinking about the long-term transition away from diesel and petrol vehicles.”

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