In a promising start to the year, the United Kingdom's car production witnessed a solid upswing in January this year, as revealed by the latest data released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The figures indicated a substantial 21.0 per cent surge in volumes, with production reaching 82,997 units. This performance not only marked the best January output since 2021 but also signified the fifth consecutive month of growth.

The majority of the production, accounting for 75.8 per cent, was designated for export purposes, registering a notable 11.6 per cent increase to 62,938 units. However, it's worth noting that the most significant volume growth was observed in output for the domestic market, witnessing an additional 7,863 units, marking an impressive 64.5 per cent rise. 

UK new car production, January 2024

The production of battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and hybrid (HEV) vehicles continued to ascend, marking a combined 4.5 per cent increase to 29,590 units, now constituting 35.7 per cent of the overall output. The data also shows that the European Union emerged as the primary global market for British-made cars, absorbing more than half (53.2 per cent) of the exports, followed by the United States (15.0 per cent), China (10.5 per cent), Japan (2.8 per cent), and Australia (2.3 per cent). Shipments to key markets such as the EU, US, and China all experienced considerable growth, surging by 5.0 per cent, 81.1 per cent, and 33.2 per cent, respectively.

Despite these positive indicators, uncertainties linger regarding potential disruptions to UK car manufacturing due to recent incidents affecting shipping routes in the Red Sea. While the extent of these impacts remains to be seen, the latest independent forecast, issued in November, anticipates a 3 per cent growth in UK car and light van production for the year 2024, projecting a total of 1.04 million units.