UK car production revs up in July

ford scrappage scheme

The number of cars built in the UK last month rose by almost 8% compared with July 2016, new figures show.

Just over 136,000 vehicles were made in British factories, up 7.8% on July last year, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

The BBC reports that many carmakers increase production in July ahead of new models going on sale in September and summer shutdowns.

However, the number of cars made in the UK in the first seven months of the year fell 1.6% to about one million.

Almost four out of five cars that roll off British production lines are exported.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “As the timing and length of these manufacturing pauses can shift each year, market performance comparisons for July and August should always be treated with caution.

“But as long as the economic conditions at home and abroad stay broadly stable, we expect new car production to remain in line with expectations for the rest of 2017.”

The number of cars built for the UK market rose by 17.7% to almost 30,000 in July, reversing seven consecutive months of decline.

The vehicle production total for domestic sales is down 6.5% to 212,700 compared with the first seven months of 2016.

The slowdown comes as the number of new cars registered in the UK fell almost 10% in July – the fourth month of declines. About 162,000 vehicles were sold last month.

Samuel Tombs of Pantheon Macroeconomics said the slide in sales showed consumers were becoming more reluctant to splash out on expensive purchases.

It was the first time that the SMMT had blamed uncertainty over Brexit for the decline in consumer confidence.

“Government must act quickly to provide concrete plans regarding Brexit,” Mr Hawes said earlier this month.

This week, Ford became the latest carmaker to introduce a scrappage scheme, offering drivers a £2,000 discount for cars more than seven years old.

While Ford said the move was a bid to improve air quality by taking older, more polluting vehicles off UK roads, it would also help to boost sales.

The US company remains Britain’s biggest-selling carmaker, but its sales in the first seven months of the year fell by almost 8,200 to 185,250 vehicles.