OVERSEAS buyers are snapping up British-built cars ahead of Brexit, pushing production at UK factories to near record levels.
Double-digit growth in demand for British-built cars last month helped deliver the biggest February for UK car production in 17 years, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
UK production lines turned out one car every 16 seconds during the month, with total output of 153,041 up eight per cent with exports growing by 13.4 per cent to 118,898 units.
The surge in exports more than offset falling production for the home market, which has declined in the first two months of the year.
The performance helped to drive overall year-to-date production past 300,000 for the first time since 2002, with output rising 7.8 per cent to 301,004 units.
In the first two months of the year, exports of UK-made cars grew 12.1 per cent, with 236,832 units shipped abroad, offsetting a decline in domestic demand of minus 5.6 per cent to 64,172.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executivehighlighted the potential dangers of Brexit to the UK car industry, saying: "Today's figures illustrate the continuing global popularity of British-built vehicles and the export-led nature of the industry.
"With eight out of every 10 cars we produce destined for international markets - and half of those for customers in the EU - we must avoid barriers to trade, whether tariff, customs or other regulatory obstacles, at all costs. To do otherwise would damage our competitiveness and threaten the continued success of UK automotive manufacturing."