UK car manufacturing a "stable" outlook with a year-on-year decline of just 0.05% after record exports drove the sector during January, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
The SMMT said that just 72 fewer cars were produced during January 2018, compared to the same period a year earlier, as exports grew 1.5% to a record 119,252.
Production for UK buyers declined for sixth consecutive month, meanwhile, with a decline of 6% to 28,229.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes once again re-stated the need for “open trade” links with Europe when commenting on the figures.
He said: “While it is good to see global appetite for British-built cars reach record levels in January, this only reinforces the industry’s increasing reliance on overseas demand.
“Future growth will therefore depend on maintaining our current open trade links not just with Europe but with key international markets.
“A transitional deal will be an important first step but, in the long term, a seamless relationship between the UK and Europe must be maintained.
“The EU remains the third largest new car market in the world and, given it is on our doorstep, it is not surprising it accounts for more than half of our global exports.”
The SMMT said that January’s stable performance for UK car manufacturing had been in-line with continued recovery across EU markets.
Volumes across the 27 territories included in Jato Dynamics’ monthly report showed new car registrations up by 7.1% in January, with 1.28 million cars registered last month, 84,000 more than in January 2017.
UK registration volumes fell by 6.3% as the market started 2018 with the lowest January total since 2014.
The SMMT said that the European recovery had followed the launch of several key global models throughout 2017.