By Jonathan Davies

The production of new cars in the UK hit a six-year high in the first nine months of the year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT).

The SMMT said 1.13 million cars were manufactured between January and September, the biggest figure since 2008, despite a small dip in production in September.

There were 137,068 cars produced in the month, down 3% on the same period last year. Figures released by the SMMT earlier this month showed that sales of new cars in the UK hit a 10-year high in September.

But there were big changes in the number of cars produced for export and domestic markets. Production of cars for exports were down 8.1%, whilst the number of domestic markets was up 17.7%.

"It is testament to the strength of the automotive industry that continues to break records, yielding the best year-to-date performance for six years and comfortably surpassing one million units," said the group's chief executive, Mike Hawes.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The UK automotive sector is a global success story underpinned by manufacturing innovation, which is what keeps manufacturing moving."

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