Figures released by the SMMT show that UK commercial vehicle production fell by 4.3% in March, compared with the same month last year. A total of 8,041 units were produced in March.
Overseas demand rose for the seventh consecutive month, with sales in March up 7.8% to 4,855 units. Total CV exports for the first quarter of 2017 rose by 21.2%, making them account for 64.3% of all UK CV production, the highest level for seven years.
In spite of this high overseas demand, CV production for the first quarter of the year dipped by 0.7%, compared with 2016, as a result of a drop in domestic sales. Output for the domestic market fell 18.4% in March, following a high level of demand among UK operators in 2015 and 2016.
Assessing the situation, Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the SMMT, said: “UK CV production remains positive and continuing growth in overseas demand highlights the quality and competitiveness of our products.”
Noting the overseas popularity of British CVs, Hawes urged the government to seek a free trade deal in the Brexit negotiations to “maintain competitiveness and secure the future of CV manufacturing.”