British car production has grown again over the past month but is still well below pre-pandemic levels, new figures show.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a total of 69,524 cars were built in October, a 7.4% increase from the same month last year.
The surge was followed by a fall in September, which came after four consecutive months of growth, which SMMT said illustrated how supply chain turmoil, particularly global chip shortages, continues to impact UK automakers.
Exports of the latest volume, luxury and specialty models drove production last month, with more than eight out of ten cars going abroad, accounting for 56,469 units, while 13,055 cars were produced for the domestic market.
Export growth was led by rising shipments to the US, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Turkey, although the majority of cars (54.9%) going overseas went to the European Union, the SMMT said.
UK production of battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid (HEV) vehicles rose again, with combined unit numbers up 20.3% to 24,115 units.
Year to date, UK car factories have produced a record 61,339 BEVs, a 16.2% increase over the same period in 2021.
SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “A return to growth in UK car production in October is welcome – although production is still well below pre-Covid levels given the turbulent component supply.
“Getting the industry back on track in 2023 is a priority given the jobs, exports and economic contribution of the auto industry.
“UK automakers are doing everything in their power to ramp up production of the latest electrified vehicles and help achieve net zero, but more favorable terms for investment are badly needed and needed – particularly in affordable and sustainable energy and the availability of talent – as part of a supportive framework for automotive manufacturing.”