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The number of cars produced in Britain rose to a 16-year high in the first half of 2016, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Nearly 900,000 cars were built in the first six months, more than in any half year since 2000. It was also up 15% on the first half of 2015.

The UK's car industry has been on a high over the past few years, with continuous growth now edging towards record numbers, and Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said these latest impressive numbers were down to a number of investments in new models of vehicles starting to take shape on the production line.

However, he did warn that the outlook for the industry was uncertain after the outcome of the EU referendum, with the EU by far the UK's biggest market.

Mr Hawes said: “The latest increase in production output is the result of investment decisions made over a number of years, well before the referendum was even a prospect.

“These decisions were based on many factors but primarily on tariff-free access to the single market, economic stability and record levels of productivity from a highly skilled workforce. To ensure the sector’s continued growth, and with it the thousands of jobs it supports, these must be priorities in future negotiations."

Nearly 80% of all cars made in Britain are exported - mostly to the EU - but 60% of parts needed for production are imported from the EU.

The SMMT said 57% of its members believe Brexit will be bad for their business, with tariffs, custom charges and other barriers the biggest concerns.

The organisation said: “The UK automotive manufacturing sector has grown dramatically over the past few years and now employs 169,000 people, including many skilled EU nationals recruited to fill vacancies which the local labour force could not meet.

"The lack of certainty regarding the future status of these workers in the UK was cited frequently as a concern."