UK car manufacturers grow again in March after retooling

LONDON, April 24 Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:01pm EDT

LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - British car production returned to growth in March after some automakers completed retooling to make new models, an industry body said on Thursday, in another sign of momentum in the country's manufacturing sector.

Output reached more than 142,000 units last month, an increase of 12 percent compared with March 2013, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said. In 2014 so far, production is nearly 3 percent higher than a year earlier, it said.

Output fell earlier this year as carmakers such as Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan and BMW adjusted production lines to manufacture new models, an SMMT spokesman said.

Britain's car market has been boosted by the turnaround in the country's economy and recovering demand in Europe, which accounts for about half of the country's automobile exports.

Car production accounts for about 15 percent of Britain's overall manufacturing output in terms of value. (Reporting by William Schomberg; Editing by Larry King)

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