Automotive productivity hits 12-year high but fears over steel cloud optimism

Productivity in the UK automotive sector rose by 10% in March, according to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Around 159,000 cars were completed in the month, meaning 443,581 have been built in Britain this year in 2016 – the highest figure for this point of the year since 2004.

Concerns around the future supply of materials, caused by the current steel crisis, are leading some to fear the momentum may be lost in the coming months. Mike Hawes, chief executive, SMMT, warned the situation in Port Talbot is likely to have a “significant impact” on car manufacturers’ supplies.

But Hawes was bullish about the sector’s long-term future, predicting it could hit record levels of production by 2020.

"Much will depend on economic and political conditions in key markets but, with several brand new global models starting production here in the first quarter alone, the prospects for future growth look bright", he said.