UK car production surged in July, rising 31.6% to mark the sixth consecutive month of growth, according to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Some 76,451 units rolled off factory lines in July as UK car makers continued their recovery from recent difficulties, notably global chip shortages.

Despite this growth, however, output remained 29.4% lower than pre-pandemic July 2019. A 12-month rolling average illustrates how far the market is down on pre-pandemic levels.

Manufacturing output for the UK market rose 13.7% to 13,187 units in July while exports increased more than a third (36.1%) to 63,264 units, representing by far the bulk of all production in July. More than eight-in-ten (82.8%) cars made were shipped overseas, with the top destination markets being the EU, US, China, Japan and Australia. Combined they accounted for almost 85% of all UK car exports last month.

Electrified vehicles continue to increase their share of output. Production of hybrid electric (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) continued apace, with combined volumes rising 73.9% to 30,180 units and representing almost two in every five (39.5%) cars made in July. Since January, UK car makers have now turned out more than 200,000 of these vehicles, almost double the amount produced in the same period last year, and a total of 526,619 cars overall, an increase of 14.2% year-on-year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Six months of growth shows that British car production is recovering and, with electrified models increasingly driving volumes, the future is more positive. Recent investment announcements have undoubtedly bolstered the sector but global competition remains tough. If we are to attract further investment and produce the next generation of zero emission models and technologies, we need a coherent strategy that builds on our strengths and supports all aspects of advanced automotive manufacturing.”