UK car output rebounds after last year's lockdown low

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Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London

LONDON (Reuters) - British automotive production rose 34,573% in April compared to the same month last year when just 197 cars were made as factories shut due to a national lockdown, an industry body said on Thursday.

Output stood at 68,306 cars last month, still slightly below April 2019 levels, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Factories have operated this year with COVID-safe measures in place, although some have been hit by semiconductor shortages, whilst dealerships in England reopened to the public in mid-April.

"We still need strong domestic demand and given we’re export-led, confident overseas markets to drive a recovery, both for the automotive sector and for the wider economy," said SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas. Editing by Andrew MacAskill)