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UK car production expected to hit 1 million in 2023 - industry body

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London

(Reuters) - British vehicle makers are expected to produce about a million cars this year, well above an earlier forecast, following a recent round of investments in the sector, an industry body said on Thursday.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) had earlier forecast production of 860,000 cars in 2023.

The latest projection is 18% higher than the output in 2022, the worst year for UK car production since 1956, but lags the 1.5 million or more cars produced pre-pandemic.

Easing supply chain issues and a rapid transition to electric vehicles (EV) have been aiding the UK's car industry, a significant driver of manufacturing and exports.

A total of 91,521 units rolled out of factory lines in the country in October, SMMT said, up 31.6% year-on-year.

Britain committed 2 billion pounds to the car industry over the course of the next five years to support the move to zero-emission vehicles.

Earlier this month, Japanese automaker Nissan said its plans to make electric versions of two of its cars at its British plant would require a total investment of up to 2 billion pounds ($2.54 billion), including a third battery plant in Britain and infrastructure projects that partners would help to finance.

In July, India's Tata Group said it would build its first gigafactory outside of India in Britain with an investment of 4 billion pounds.

($1 = 0.7876 pounds)

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar)