UK car production nearing six-year high, SMMT says

Mini plant in Cowley, Oxford The SMMT predicts car production will hit two million a year by 2017

Car production in the UK is set to reach a six-year high of more than 1.5 million vehicles this year, the industry's trade body has said.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the growth, driven by new models coming into the market, would continue into 2014.

It said production had hit 1.42 million units for the first 11 months of 2013.

Growth was driven by an influx of new models, such as the third-generation Mini, the SMMT said.

Europe recovery?

Mike Hawes, chief executive at SMMT, said: "With output up 4.5% in 2013 to date, UK car manufacturing is on track to pass 1.5 million units this year, the best performance since 2007."

The SMMT said 137,624 cars were made in the UK last month, down 3.6% from the figure in November 2012.

However, Mr Hawes said the drop was a result of carmakers preparing production lines for new models.

The new models would "play an integral part in what is predicted to be an even stronger 2014 should support production in 2014", he added.

The SMMT predicted car output would hit two million a year by 2017.

Sales abroad have grown by just 0.3% this year, whcih the SMMT said was partly due to the weak economic conditions in Europe.

But the SMMT said it thought the eurozone was "turning a corner", after seeing the number of registrations there grow for three months in a row.

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