New figures show UK commercial vehicle (CV) production grew by 26.9% in the first month of 2024, with 11,756 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches leaving UK factory lines.

The strong performance saw January output reach its highest level in 16 years, some 28.0% above pre-pandemic 2019 levels, reflecting the sector’s health as it builds on 2023’s positive performance.

Output was driven by exports, with global demand for British-built CVs up 49.8% to 7,965 units. Nearly seven in 10 (67.8%) CVs were produced for international markets, with the EU remaining the UK’s biggest overseas customer – responsible for 97.4% of exports. Volumes for the UK market, however, recorded a slight decline, falling by -4.0% to 3,791 units – a reduction equal to just 156 units.

Overall manufacturing growth is expected to continue throughout the year, with light commercial vehicle volumes set to rise to 173,500 units and hold steady ahead as the sector benefits from new model activity and major investments into zero emission vehicle production.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

“A positive start to the year sets the stage for a promising 2024, with the sector delivering the best result in 16 years and recently announced green investment adding to the optimism.

“Ongoing economic and geopolitical headwinds, however, mean we must enhance the UK’s offer as a competitive manufacturing destination.

“The upcoming Budget presents an opportunity for the government to implement measures to do just that – supporting affordable energy, stimulating infrastructure investment and boosting market demand.”

Source: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

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