UK CV manufacturing was up 16.9% in March to 6,166 vehicles, one year on from the pandemic shuttering factories.
March output remained down significantly on pre-pandemic levels, -32.2% on a five year average for the month.
The domestic market saw a bigger increase than overseas, as manufacturers adjusted to new EU trading arrangements and coped with renewed lockdown restrictions worldwide.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) noted CV manufacturing saw its first month of growth since September 2020.
Performance over the first quarter saw output fall 24.7% to 16,090 units, with some 5,264 fewer vehicles manufactured compared to this time last year.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “One year since the coronavirus pandemic first caused a nationwide lockdown, we are starting to see signs of recovery, with growth in commercial vehicle production for the first time in six months being very welcome. March 2021 was always going to be up, as last year’s output was hit so badly by shuttered factories. While manufacturers are working hard to make up for production lost last year, getting back to pre-pandemic levels will take time as many LCV key export markets have new lockdown restrictions in place.”
March UK engine production rose 31.7% as output for domestic and overseas markets increased 50.4% and 19.9% respectively. Performance in the first quarter was down 11.1%, though, with 534,793 engines manufactured.
Hawes said: “These figures must be set in context as output in March 2020 was severely impacted by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which closed factories. UK engine production in the first quarter is down and the immediate outlook remains challenging. Companies are working tirelessly to maintain cross border trade, deal with Covid, and manage global component shortages, most obviously of semiconductors.”