Commercial vehicle (CV) production in the UK registered a surge of 26.9% in January 2024, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 

With 11,756 units manufactured, including vans, trucks, taxis, buses, and coaches, it was the highest monthly output in 16 years.  

The industry continued the positive trajectory established in 2023, with production now 28% above the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. 

Exports have been the primary driver behind this increase, witnessing a 49.8% surge to 7,965 units.  

International markets now account for 67.8% of the total CV output, with the European Union (EU) being the largest export destination, absorbing 97.4% of these vehicles. 

Amid the export boom, domestic demand witnessed a marginal dip, with production for the UK market falling by 4% to 3,791 units – a reduction of just 156 units.  

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The overall manufacturing growth is anticipated to persist throughout the year.  

Projections suggest that light commercial vehicle production could reach 173,500 units, maintaining stability due to new model launches and significant investments in zero-emission vehicle production. 

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “A positive start to the year sets the stage for a promising 2024, with the sector delivering the best result in 16 years and recently announced green investment adding to the optimism.  

“Ongoing economic and geopolitical headwinds, however, mean we must enhance the UK’s offer as a competitive manufacturing destination. The upcoming Budget presents an opportunity for the government to implement measures to do just that – supporting affordable energy, stimulating infrastructure investment and boosting market demand.” 

The car manufacturing sector in the UK has also shown signs of recovery in January.  

According to SMMT, car production rose by 21% to 82,997 units. Exports continue to be pivotal, comprising 75.8% of total car output, with 62,938 vehicles exported, marking an 11.6% increase.