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Car production enjoys slight rise despite export drop

The number of cars produced in the UK rose in May, despite output in 2018 still remaining below what it was the previous year.

An expected bump in domestic demand led to the 1.3 per cent increase in cars manufactured in the UK last month, with 137,225 cars produced through May, according to statistics out today from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

That rise comes despite a 1.5 per cent dip in export production, with like-for-like manufacturing levels this year down 2.9 per cent from 2017.

However, a 12.8 per cent rise in cars made for domestic consumers helped offset the fall in foreign demand.

Read more: Jaguar Land Rover slashes UK production amid Brexit fears

The latest results from the SMMT come only a few days after the automobile body warned that Brexit uncertainty was damaging investment in the UK car industry, which SMMT said has declined by half in the last year.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of SMMT, said: "Following the significant decline in output in May last year as several manufacturers geared up to deliver new models, growth this month was to be expected. For this to continue, we need to ensure UK car plants are able to attract future investment, and this will depend upon maintaining the competitive conditions that have helped drive the industrys success in recent years."

Hawes added: "Given our dependency on the EU as our biggest customer and supplier, that means retaining the benefits of the single market and membership of the customs union – the minimum requirement for frictionless trade."

Read more: UK car manufacturing sees April boost

Alex Buttle, director of car buying comparison website Motorway.co.uk said: "The UK new car industry will cling onto any positive news at the moment but a 1.3% rise in manufacturing will bring little comfort despite a depressing year of decline."

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