Motor chiefs hail production surge
Car and commercial vehicle production raced ahead last month, with the motor industry lauding some of the best figures for years.
A total of 144,893 cars were produced in the UK in March - a 1.9% rise on the March 2014 figure, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
This was the best March figure since 2006 and took the number of cars manufactured in the first three months of this year to 402,193 - a 0.6% dip on the total for January to March 2014.
The SMMT also announced that productivity-per-person levels were at an all-time high. Looking at the past five-year period, 11.5 vehicles were produced a year for each person employed in the industry.
For the period from 2005 to 2009, the figure was 9.3 vehicles produced per employee per year.
The number of commercial vehicles (CV) produced last month totalled 9,648 - a 43.3% rise on the March 2014 total.
This took the CV year-to-date figure to 23,435 - up 19.1% on the total for the first three months of last year and the best quarter-year total since the last three months of 2010.
On car production, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "'Built in Britain' is more than just a brand: our automotive industry is increasingly competitive on a global scale. The latest production figures are yet more evidence of that."
He added that the CV sector had enjoyed "a strong resurgence so far in 2015 after a subdued couple of years".
Mr Hawes went on: "Driving this readjustment is a home market invigorated by new product, increased consumer and business confidence, as well as an upturn in demand for UK-built vans and trucks across Europe."