In the week the commercial vehicle market focuses on the UK and the CV Show in Birmingham, new figures show that commercial production in the UK slid substantially in March.

However the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), that compiles the industry’s output figures, is expressing no surprise or concern at the 13 per cent slip in the month, instead describing it as a rebalancing after a particularly strong performance in March 2015.

In total 8,398 CVs were built in Britain in March, contributing to first-quarter production of 23,639 units, up 0.9 per cent on the first three months of 2015 and the strongest quarter in four years, suggesting that overall the market is stable.

The production growth was driven by overseas demand, which is up almost a fifth compared with the same period last year, with 12,450 vehicles exported, just under 53 per cent of overall production.

“Following the substantial boost to volumes seen in 2015, it is unsurprising that March’s production figures were more subdued,” says the SMMT’s Chief Executive Mike Hawes.

“However, exports are driving output, with more than half of all the commercial vehicles made in Britain in 2016 produced for overseas buyers. With continued recovery in Europe, we can be optimistic that this trend will continue.”

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