CV factories boom as car plants slow


Britain’s commercial vehicle plants enjoyed a strong boost in production in February, while their car equivalents faltered.

CV output was up almost 34% in the month, with 8,344 vehicles coming off production lines.

In contrast car production slipped 3% in February, with 129,915 vehicles made.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), that compiles the production figures, the commercial surge was led by strong demand for new vehicles in the UK, up 56% on January, but overseas demand is also strengthening.

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes believes the growing output from UK commercial vehicle manufacturers in February has put the sector on a strong footing for the year ahead.

“Demand from the UK’s prospering domestic market is driving growth, buoyed by a strong appetite from overseas buyers, with exports in February up by more than 13% on the same month last year,” Hawes says.

Year-to-date UK CV production is up by 6.5% compared with 2014.

Hawes remains upbeat with regard to car production, highlighting the strength of the domestic market and pointing out that more than a quarter of a million cars have been made in Britain so far this year and dubbing this ‘a steady performance’.

“The UK’s appetite for British-built cars has consistently grown, with the number of cars produced for the home market increasing 52% since 2011 – however, political instability abroad has hit certain export areas which will invariably have a small impact on total output,” Hawes says.

“Car makers have invested heavily in UK production facilities, and this is expected to come to fruition in the coming year. Furthermore, the number of UK-produced components in British cars has risen steeply, meaning resilient car output will benefit the whole sector”.

Engine manufacturing was also slightly down in February, by 3.5% to 207,773, year-to-date slipping 2%. But Hawes appears equally unconcerned by the drop.

“With new Euro-6 technology coming to the market, manufacturers have invested heavily to build new, cleaner engines and volumes are expected to increase in the near future,” he says.

“A growing number of UK components are being used in British-built cars, which also stands to benefit the engine sector at production and supply chain levels,” Hawes adds.

Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Van Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars and vans for more than 20 years, and attends many new model launches each year.

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