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Increase in UK car production reaches almost 40%

The number of cars built in the UK increased by almost 40% last month, driven by a rise in exports, figures show.

A total of 88,230 vehicles left UK factories, 25,105 more than September last year and the best September figure for three years, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Exports increased by a third, with almost six in 10 cars going to the EU.

Electrified vehicle production increased by 41.5%, but the SMMT said urgent action is needed to ensure UK and EU trade remains competitive next year.

Car production has reached almost 660,000 so far this year, around 14.9% above the same period in 2022.

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The SMMT said there had been notable growth in deliveries to the US, China and Turkey, although the EU continues to be Britain’s leading trading partner “by some distance”, with 37,563 UK-built cars shipped to the bloc last month.

The SMMT warned that tougher rules of origin for batteries come into force in January which, if fully passed on, would raise the average cost of UK-built battery electric vehicles by £3,600 in Europe.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “A particularly strong period of car making is good news for the UK, given the thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment that depend on the sector.

“With countries around the world shifting to zero-emission motoring, Britain is well placed to be a global EV manufacturing hub if the investment and trading conditions are right.

“Given the increasing importance of electrified car production, the first and urgent step is for the UK and EU to agree to delay the tougher rules of origin requirements that are due imminently.

“This would give the necessary breathing space for automotive sectors on both sides of the Channel to scale up gigafactories and green supply chains, both of which are essential for a stable, long-term transition.”

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Almost one third of drivers say they are put off electric cars due to the higher purchase price.

“It is essential that the rules of origin for batteries coming into force in January should be delayed to allow time for EU and UK gigafactories to come on stream.

“Without this consumers will be hit with an extra £3,600 cost on electric vehicles built in the UK which will be bad for the economy and the environment.”