SMMT figures reveal car manufacturing boom
British car production rose for the 13th consecutive month in July according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), up 22.2% from the previous month and 15.1% for the year to date.
The news comes in the same week that one of the industry's great export successes, Jaguar Land Rover, revealed plans to move to a 24-hour operation in order to keep up with soaring demand for its new Evoque model.
Paul Everitt, chief executive at the SMMT said that while uncertainty in Europe remained a challenge, the £6billion investment committed to the UK in the last two years delivered long term growth opportunities for the automotive sector. The latest figures, he said, also show that UK products have enormous global appeal.
However, Philippa Oldham, head of manufacturing at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) said that while the rise in UK car manufacturing figures was very welcome and showed that the UK could still be a manufacturing powerhouse, UK manufacturing as a whole was still shrinking.
"The success of UK car manufacturing should motivate government to take urgent action to support manufacturing so that we can see other industries become UK success stories," she commented.
"Government needs to work with industry and other political parties to develop a detailed manufacturing and industrial strategy with cross-party support. Industry needs this certainty and also needs greater access to capital investment in order to invest in new production plants, machinery and training."
Tony Burke, assistant general secretary of Unite, the UK's largest trade union, said: "Britain's car industry is continuing to buck the trend being set by an unsupported manufacturing industry. The month on month increase in output is proof that investment works and that, when skilled UK manufacturing workers get the opportunity, they deliver world class products."
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