UK car production up 64.8% in January

Car production in the rose 64.8% in January compared to the same month last year and is the biggest year-on-year increase in monthly production since May 1976, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

Car production soared to 101,190 units in January, up from 85,316 in December.

It was the third consecutive month that production has increased but overall car production levels in 2009 had fallen to a 25-year low, but the SMMT said it expected “modest growth” in the year ahead. Overall 2009 was a subdued year for automobile manufacturers following the collapse of the market in the wake of the credit crisis. Car production fell 30.9% from the previous year.

“Vehicle and engine production rose for a third successive month in January, demonstrating the continued success of global scrappage incentive schemes,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.

The SMMT estimates the scrappage scheme has been responsible for about a fifth of all new car registrations since its introduction.

However, Mr Everitt said he expected the recent recovery to continue, despite the ending of the UK scheme.

“SMMT expects a modest recovery in 2010 output as economic growth, a competitive exchange rate and the introduction of innovative new models to UK plants help to lift manufacturing levels above those seen in 2009.”

About a third of cars made in Britain are sold to British drivers, and the rest exported.

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