UK commercial vehicle production increased by 26% in November, but industry bosses cautioned against making too much of the figures.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), pointed out that low volumes associated with CV manufacturing can result in large percentage swings, particularly as the market saw particularly poor results in the previous two Novembers.
The boost was provided by the UK market. While the number of CVs built for overseas customers fell 9% in the month, production for domestic customers more than compensated, doubling to 2,070 units and helping overall manufacturing jump by a quarter.
Unusually weak performances over the same period in 2016 and 2017, and large fleet orders, fuelled the rise. Year-to-date production figures remain broadly stable, increasing 5% on 2017, with manufacturing for the domestic market up 12%, and export demand up 1%, accounting for almost 60% of total output.
“While the boost to commercial vehicle production for the home market is certainly welcome news, it is important to remember that large fleet orders can have a big impact on this small volume sector,” Hawes said.
“Despite the growth in domestic demand, exports continue to take the majority of output overall so any weakening in global markets will be a worry – maintaining the success of the sector depends on the UK remaining competitive and that means ensuring the preservation of the beneficial trading conditions we currently enjoy,” he added.