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UK car production up sharply in February

Category: Business

Published: 18th Mar 2010 10:32:32

UK car production increased sharply in February, figures have shown, rising 62.7% on the same month last year.

It marks the fourth month in a row that output has seen a year-on-year increase, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said the figures were "encouraging" and attributed the rise to the weakness of the pound helping exporters.

UK engine production was up 58.9% in February, said the SMMT.

"Sterling movement has made UK-built products more competitive, enabling the UK to work through challenging economic conditions," Mr Everitt said.

"UK-built engines and vehicles are exported to over 100 markets worldwide, offering some resilience to local market conditions," he added.

Budget hopes

In total, 97,255 cars were produced in February, with 70,482 of these - or 72.5% - exported.

Commercial vehicle output also recovered sharply, up 74.2% from a year ago to 10,226 units.

Although Mr Everitt was optimistic about the motor industry's future, he said it was important that the Budget on March 24 did nothing to undermine confidence.

"Industry looks to next week's Budget to maintain stability in demand through continued investment in new products.

"Manufacturers and government need to work together to ensure that there is continued investment in new products and technology to sustain future growth," Mr Everitt said.

Car production levels fell to a 25-year low in 2009, but have been helped by the introduction of the scrappage scheme, manufacturers say.

The scheme, which stops at the end of this month, offers a £2,000 incentive to trade in old cars for new.

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