UK vehicle production continues to soar

Manufacturing in the commercial vehicle sector continues to grow according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

6,808 vans, trucks and buses were made in Britain last month – a 32.8% rise compared with last year. Data for the first five months of 2015 further demonstrate a CV manufacturing resurgence, with production volumes up by almost a quarter.

The sector benefited from increasing European demand in May, as exports rose 69.4% last month with 3,710 vehicles destined for overseas markets. Half of all commercial vehicles produced to date in 2015 have been built for export.

Meanwhile car manufacturing continued on a steady growth path in May, with 119,338 cars built – a rise of 2.3%. The strong domestic market once again played a significant part with a 13.3% increase outweighing a small dip in production for export.

Engine producers have reported volumes are on trend year-to-date until the end of May, breaking through one million units produced. This is a dip of 4% compared to the previous period, as new plants gear up for production. European demand for UK’s latest low emission Euro-6 engines is now poised to drive exports.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “UK engine manufacturing remains relatively stable for the year-to-date and although May registered a drop in production, it is encouraging that despite retooling efforts for Euro-6 production, volumes surpassed the all important one million unit mark last month. We are optimistic that growth will return to the sector over the coming months as UK-produced Euro-6 manufacture gets underway ahead of the September deadline and major new engine plants come on stream later in the year.”

The data published this week by the SMMT coincides with the conclusion of latest grant funding competition through the APC. Project consortia who have registered for the APC4 competition are now completing their applications for the current grant funding round. The competition has up to £60 million currently available to support low carbon advanced propulsion projects worth more than £120 million.

The competition opened on the 5th May is called ‘APC4 Driving UK Capability and Economic Impact through Low Carbon Propulsion Technologies’ for projects which are collaborative and business-led and include a vehicle manufacturer or a tier 1 supplier and an SME partner. They must also develop the UK’s supply chain in the field of low carbon vehicle propulsion technology. The competition will fund the development of on-vehicle technologies for either on-road or off-highway vehicles.

Consortia must have a clear, demonstrable route to production, and line of sight to market, involving at least one vehicle manufacturer and/or a tier 1 supplier and at least one SME partner.