The UK commercial vehicle manufacturing sector enjoyed its best July in six years last month, according to new figures. Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows more than 8,000 new commercial vehicles, including vans, taxis and trucks, were built in the UK last month.

That figure represents an increase of 43.9 percent compared with the same month last year, and the best July performance since 2016. It’s also the eleventh consecutive month of growth for the industry, which has enjoyed a strong 2022 so far.

Over the first seven months of the year, 58,693 new commercial vehicles were built in the UK, up 46.9 percent compared with the same period last year. In fact, the difference in output between the first seven months of 2022 and all 12 months of 2021 is less than 8,000 units. UK output has been so prolific that it’s the best first seven months of a year since 2012.

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The export market has been particularly strong this year, with more than 34,000 vehicles (58.6 percent of the total output) heading to customers abroad. That’s a 72.9 percent increase on the first seven months of 2021, when exports made up just under half of all commercial vehicles produced in the UK.

However, there has also been growth in the domestic market, with the number of vehicles destined for UK customers rising by more than a fifth in the first seven months of 2022. And in July, the growth was even stronger, with the number of vehicles built for British customers up by 58.5 percent compared with the same month last year.

All this is in stark contrast to the fortunes of the new car industry, which has struggled with supply issues caused by the global microchip shortage, war in Ukraine, and the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Now, both industries will have to contend with the energy price crisis, which is causing costs to sky-rocket.

“The commercial vehicle sector continues to provide a shining example of successful UK automotive manufacturing with the best year to date performance since 2012,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes. “This is testament to the quality of commercial vehicles made in Britain, which are in high demand at home and abroad. However, the continued success of this export-led sector is not guaranteed, amid some of the toughest economic conditions in living memory. Urgent action is needed to bring down the high energy costs faced by automotive factories if their competitiveness is to be sustained.”

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