UK new car production increased in October, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 157,056 units left UK factories last month, a 3.5% rise compared with the same period in 2016.
The growth was driven by exports, which rose 5.0% in the month, boosted by demand for new models in overseas markets. 82.1% of all UK-built cars were shipped abroad in October – the highest proportion this year – with the bulk going to our biggest trading partner, Europe.
Meanwhile, production for the UK continued to reverse, falling -2.9% and making October the ninth month of decline at home this year. 28,178 cars were produced for domestic buyers, as lower business and consumer confidence, combined with confusion over government policies towards diesel, continued to dent orders.
Year-to-date figures show production for the home market decreased by -6.8% or almost 22,000 units. Exports have fared better, broadly stable so far in the year at -0.1%, while overall output is down -1.6%.
The latest independent production forecast is also published today, which revises the expected UK output for 2017 down to 1.73 million, lower than previous SMMT expectations of around 1.8 million. The revision is due in part to the decline in domestic demand, but also because of lower than expected production levels of certain models as some approach the end of their lifecycles.