AM Online

Exports reach record levels

The number of cars produced for export reached record levels last year.

But with the number of vehicles made for the home market dipping more than 9%, total UK car production in 2004 fell a fraction short of the 2003 total.

Cars made for export totalled 1,179,753 last year – 3.1% up on the 2003 figure, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Production for the home market last year reached 467,020, taking the overall production figure to 1,646,773 – 0.7% down on the 2003 total.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Christopher Macgowan says: "Stability has returned to car production landscape in the last few years. Total volumes have remained steady at around 1.65 million units, although output for export has been rising steadily and is now running at record levels.

"However, while the picture is generally positive we need to guard against complacency. The UK hosts some of the most productive car plants in Europe, but rising raw material and fuel costs, as well as unfavourable exchange rates, play their part in threatening future prosperity, particularly for companies in the supply chain."

Although production levels of commercial vehicles fell 12.7% in December 2004 compared with the same month in 2003, the 2004 full-year CV total, at 209,293, was 10.8% up on the 2003 total.

As with car production, the export market far outperformed the home market for CV production. CVs made for export leapt 24.5% ahead in 2004 to 128,107, while home CV production dipped 5.5% to 81.186.

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