The UK car industry continued to buck the economic gloom reporting its highest output in eight years.
Figures released by the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show the car production market is experiencing a golden spring. In May 141,146 cars were built in the UK, with a further 9,445 commercial vehicles rolling off the production line.
This represented a year-on-year increase of 42.2% and the highest figures since 2004. It is thought that the impressive figures are in part down to last year’s Japanese tsunami - which severely affected the nation’s car industry.
UK car production in 2012 so far is up 17.3%, while the number of engines built on British soil has risen 13.4%.
'Car manufacturing in May hit the highest level of output since 2004 posting 42.2% growth, a sizable recovery against volumes hampered by last year’s Japanese tsunami,' said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.
'This boost, coupled with robust year-to-date results demonstrates the strength of UK automotive manufacturing and shows why it continues to attract high levels of international investment.
'While commercial vehicle output remains subdued, in line with restrained levels of demand, the year’s engine output volume passed one million in May and is more than 40,000 units ahead of last year.'
The news comes off the back of Vauxhall announcing that the next generation Astra would be built at the company’s plant at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire- securing 2,100 jobs and creating a further 700 positions.
Meanwhile, Jaguar Land Rover is investing £3billion in contracts across the UK and recruiting 1,000 new members of staff at their factory in Halewood, Merseyside. This is down to a huge surge in demand from the growing markets of Russia, India and China.
In 2003, Land Rover sold just 431 models in China. Last year, however, this number had skyrocketed to 36,034, with sales for the first quarter of 2012 up 105%.
As a total, car makers have invested a staggering £5.6billion in UK manufacturing over the past 18 months, with the industry reporting a £50billion turnover last month. Around 80 per cent of the cars built in the UK are shipped abroad, with this helping the industry to report its first trade surplus in cars since 1976.