UK commercial vehicle (CV) manufacturing grew 36.9% in May as 10,813 new vans, buses, trucks, coaches and taxis left British factories, according to new figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The sector’s performance was the strongest in May since 2008, surpassing its 10-year high for the month last year, and marking the second consecutive month of rising output.1

Growth was driven by production for export last month, with a significant 48.1% rise in the number of CVs shipped overseas, at 7,943 units. More than seven in 10 (73.5%) British-built CVs left UK shores – 93.6% of which were exported to markets in the EU. More vehicles were also built for UK operators, meanwhile, with volumes up 13.1% to 2,870 units.

Manufacturers have made 46,927 units so far in 2023, up 14.3% on the same period last year, and a significant 47.6% above that in 2019.2 Positively, Britain’s CV production volumes are due to increase further this year, reflecting less turbulent global supply chains and the launch of a new electric van manufacturing plant.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “With ongoing growth in demand for British commercial vehicles, particularly from overseas markets, the sector is bucking challenging economic trends. This is good news and puts the UK’s CV producers in a strong position to deliver green growth for the economy and society. We can’t be complacent, however, and must ensure the UK remains a globally competitive location for advanced manufacturing – with measures still needed to tackle our high cost of energy and to guarantee that the UK has smooth and sustainable trading relationships around the world, especially with the EU.”

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