UK car production up - for now

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The Independent Online

UK car production rose last month but is set to be hit soon by manufacturing cutbacks by earthquake-affected Japanese companies.

A total of 135,052 cars were produced in the UK last month - a 14.8% increase on the March 2010 figure, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

Commercial vehicle (CV) production totalled 12,267 last month - a 6% dip on the March 2010 figure.

The number of engines made in the UK last month reached 249,757 - up 6.5% on March 2010.

The devastating Japanese earthquake has already resulted in Honda cutting back on production at its plant in Swindon, Wiltshire.

Another Japanese company, Toyota, has said it is reducing production during May at its plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire.

SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said today: "UK automotive manufacturing demonstrated encouraging growth across the car and engine sectors in March, continuing the strong performance of quarter one (January-March).

"The eighth consecutive monthly rise in car output and robust export demand indicate long-term strength and stability in the sector.

"However, recent announcements from UK-based manufacturers impacted by the Japanese earthquake are likely to see output drop in the short term."