The number of commercial vehicles manufactured in the UK in April rose by 19%, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Bucking the trend for 2018, which has seen relatively sluggish manufacturing of commercial vehicles, in April the rise in these vehicles was a change of almost a fifth when compared to April 2017.
For April 2018, 7,299 commercial vehicles were built in Britain, compared to 6,132 for the previous April.
The SMMT figures reveal that the demand has been driven by export demand rather than the need for these vehicles at home.
However, in both cases, there has been a rise in production for April; for exports, 5,175 were manufactured in April, compared to 4,027 in the corresponding month of 2017 – an increase of 28.5%.
It means that exports are continuing to drive output, which now have a production share of 70.9% of all commercial vehicles put together in the UK.
Meanwhile, for the home market, 2,124 of these vehicles were produced in April – ever so slightly higher than 2,105 recorded last year. This is a rise of 0.9%.
The types of vehicles built for domestic fleets included vans, trucks and buses.
The released figures highlight the importance of free trade for the UK market following Brexit, according to Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.
He said: “While it is positive to see an increase in CV production, given the fluctuating nature of fleet buying cycles, caution is advised when making month-by-month comparisons.
“However, today’s figures highlight just how dependent the industry is on production for export, particularly to the EU – our largest customer.
“If we are to see future long term growth, government must negotiate the right Brexit deal to ensure our mutual trade remains free and free flowing.”
Despite the positive news in the monthly manufacturing figures, the number of commercial vehicles produced up to now in 2018 is 26,551 – more than 10% less than at the same time in 2017. It suggests there is still work to do to increase the manufacturing of these vehicles for fleets.