UK Vehicle Production 'Hits The Skids'
A sharp fall in the manufacture of commercial vehicles in the UK is being part-blamed on the closure of Ford's Transit plant in Southampton.
While car production accelerated ahead last month, the production of commercial vehicles including vans tumbled by 11.8% year on year in July according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
There were 7,942 such vehicles produced in the country during the month - 56,459 in the year to date - a 13.3% fall on the first seven months of last year.
Nigel Base, SMMT Commercial Vehicle Manager, said: "Commercial vehicle manufacturers continue to battle against weak demand, despite a moderate increase in exports in July.
"The outlook for commercial vehicle manufacturing for the rest of the year continues to be tough, especially following the closure of the Ford facility in Southampton at the end of July.
However, there are some areas, such as bus and coach production, where we are continuing to see growth as operators take advantage of the wide range of vehicles built in the UK."
A total of 128,873 cars were made in the UK in July - a 7% rise on the July 2012 figure, the SMMT said.
Engine production last month rose 26.4% to 232,545 and is up 2.1% for the year so far at just over 1.55 million.
SMMT interim chief executive Mike Baunton added: "Car manufacturing is continuing to follow the wider UK trend for more positive economic growth.
"We are starting to see slight signs of recovery from Europe which will support stronger production levels this year, and UK manufacturers will continue to build and develop innovative, high-quality products that appeal to a global customer base."