By Jonathan Davies

The UK's car industry continued its steady growth in May with the number of new cars built rising 2.3%, according to the Society for Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT).

The SMMT said there were 119,338 cars built in May following a 13.3% rise in the domestic market, which offset a small fall in the export market.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “We have seen a steady performance in UK car manufacturing this year with volumes bolstered by a strong home market, while recovery in key European markets is helping to restore export production levels.

“Long-term, the picture is promising: ‘Built in Britain’ is still in high demand all over the world, with buyers attracted not only by iconic British brands but also by the high quality of our engineering. With a significant number of new models due to start production in the coming months, we anticipate a strong, sustained upturn in output volumes in the years ahead.”

The SMMT also reported a 32.8% rise in commercial vehicle production. There were nearly 7,000 vans, trucks and buses built during the month. Unlike the overall car market, commercial vehicles saw strong growth in the export market. More than half of the vehicles produced in May were destined for overseas markets after a 69% rise.

“May’s strong figures consolidate the UK commercial vehicle manufacturing sector’s return to form, following a more subdued period over the past couple of years when changes to type approval legislation disrupted fleet renewal patterns,” said Mike Hawes.

“Continued demand for high quality British engineering, growing business confidence and regulatory stability have helped to fuel steady growth for both the domestic and export markets.”