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UK car production surges in July, marked by sharp rise in EV models

Nissan Leaf

Two in every five (39.5%) cars made in the UK are now either high-tech hybrid electric (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or battery electric vehicles (BEVs), according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

July saw 30,180 electric vehicles rolling off UK production lines, a massive 74% increase compared to July last year.

Since January, UK car makers have now turned out more than 200,000 of these vehicles, almost double the number produced in the same period last year, and a total of 526,619 cars overall, an increase of 14.2% year-on-year.

Total UK car production meanwhile surged in July, rising 31.6% to mark the sixth consecutive month of growth with 76,451 vehicles destined for both domestic and export markets.

The SMMT said this demonstrated car makers were recovering from recent difficulties, such as global chip shortages, although output remained -29.4% lower than pre-pandemic July 2019.

Manufacturing output for the UK rose 13.7% to 13,187 units in the month while exports increased more than a third (36.1%) to 63,264 units, representing by far the bulk of all production in July.

More than eight-in-ten (82.8%) cars made were shipped overseas, with the top destination markets being the EU, US, China, Japan and Australia. Combined they accounted for almost 85% of all UK car exports last month.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Six months of growth shows that British car production is recovering and, with electrified models increasingly driving volumes, the future is more positive. Recent investment announcements have undoubtedly bolstered the sector but global competition remains tough.

“If we are to attract further investment and produce the next generation of zero emission models and technologies, we need a coherent strategy that builds on our strengths and supports all aspects of advanced automotive manufacturing.”

Responding to the latest SMMT figures, John Veichmanis, CEO of carwow, said: “It feels particularly relevant that UK manufacture of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle volumes is up again this month.

“But while there’s appetite for people to switch to EV, a lack of infrastructure still puts many people off. The ongoing growth in EV manufacturing is positive for the British automotive industry, but it must be matched by investment in infrastructure to encourage more private buyers to consider EVs in the coming years.”

SMMT said the latest independent production outlook is forecasting total UK car production of around 860,000 units this year, an increase of 10.9% on 2022, with the possibility of returning to the million mark in 2028.

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