UK car output growth strongest in September as overseas shipments rise- SMMT

FILE PHOTO: A view shows morning rush hour traffic, in central London

(Reuters) - Britain's car output in September rose nearly 40% compared with the year earlier, the strongest growth so far this year, driven by an uptick in export demand, industry data showed on Thursday.

A total of 88,230 units rolled out of factory lines in the country last month, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said, which is nearly double the production numbers in August.

Easing supply chain issues and a fast-growing shift to electric vehicles (EV) have been aiding the UK's car industry, a significant driver of manufacturing and exports. For September, EV output rose 41.5% over the year earlier.

But under the trade deal agreed when Britain left the European Union, the origin rule requires a rising proportion of EV parts to be made locally to qualify for trade without tariffs, starting 2024. Failure to comply would result in a 10% tariff.

The rule has drawn widespread criticism from automakers as it would make these cars more expensive and potentially hurt demand.

"Given the increasing importance of electrified car production, the first and urgent step is for the UK and EU to agree to delay the tougher rules of origin requirements that are due imminently," SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said in a statement.

A three-year delay to the implementation of these new requirements would maintain competitiveness, SMMT said.

Overseas shipments rose 32.2% to 64,727 units in September, with almost six in 10 cars produced going to the European Union.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar)