UK car production boosted by new models in first half of 2014

LONDON, July 24 Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:01pm EDT

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) - British car production showed annual growth of more than 3 percent in the first six months of 2014 thanks to new models and further expansion is expected, an automotive industry body said on Thursday.

Car production in June was up 3.7 percent on the year to just over 136,000. This took the total number of cars built so far in 2014 to more than 790,000, or 3.5 percent more than in the same period in 2013.

Among the new models to roll off British production lines in the past 12 months are Honda's estate Civic Tourer and a new version of Nissan's Qashqai sports-utility vehicle.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), welcomed the figures but cautioned that Britain needed to match growing production with locally-sourced parts.

"With this growth comes a need to bolster the domestic supply chain and address major skills shortages, both of which the UK industry is committed to addressing," he said.

Only around a third of the parts that go into locally-made cars are manufactured in Britain. The government and industry have identified around 3 billion pounds ($5 billion) worth of parts that could be produced domestically.

Britain made 1.5 million cars in 2013, returning to levels seen before the 2008-09 financial crisis after which they nose-dived, and is expected to surpass an all-time high of 1.92 million by 2017.

The SMMT said it expected further new models to be rolled out in the coming months. ($1 = 0.5871 British Pounds) (Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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