UK car manufacturing increased 5.2 per cent in in April, with 127,952 vehicles rolling off British production lines, new data shows.

According to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), demand was particularly strong overseas, with exports accounting for 81 per cent of total output.

The lift in manufacturing follows a double-digit decline in the same month last year when Easter bank holiday timing impacted output, the group said.

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However, overall production in the year remains down with demand in the UK market sustaining losses of over 10 per cent.

Production of cars for overseas markets also decline 2.2 per cent.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “While April’s growth isn’t altogether surprising given the significant decline in output this time last year, it is good to see earlier planned investment into new models delivering results.

“However, given such investment was made on the basis of the free and frictionless trade afforded by our EU membership, the ability of UK plants to attract the next wave of new models and drive future growth depends upon maintaining these competitive conditions after Brexit.

“That’s why it is critical that government acts to safeguard our participation in the EU customs union and single market.”

Read more: UK manufacturing profitability reaches second-highest value to date

The figures from the SMMT come in the wake of data from the IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index which showed that UK manufacturing growth continued to slow in the second quarter this year, dropping to a 17-month low of 53.9 in April, down from 54.9 in March.

However, according to the Office for National Statistics, the profitability of manufacturing in the UK reached its second-highest value to date in the last three months of 2017.

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