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Carmaking rolling towards a record

Carmaking in the UK is on course for a record year, with 1.7m vehicles set to roll out of the factory doors by the end of 2004. Full-year forecasts from the Office for National Statistics have been revised upwards after car production increased 7.4% last month to 163,123 – the highest March total since 2000.

Christopher Macgowan, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, says: “The figures reflect the strength of car-making in Britain following years of investment in key car plants across the country.”

So far this year, car production is up 5%, putting the UK on track to record the best production volumes since 1990 when 1.8m cars came off the production lines.

Britain's car industry includes a range of volume and premium brands, including Jaguar, Land Rover, MG Rover, Nissan, Peugeot and Toyota. BMW's new Mini, which is built at the Cowley plant in Oxford, produced more than 180,000 cars last year.

Industry expert Professor Garel Rhys says the strong results were driven by a large increase in export volumes, which made up 70% of the total March production volumes.

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