Britain's car output revs up in May after 10-month slump

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Imported cars are parked in a storage area at Sheerness port, Sheerness

(Reuters) - Britain's car production snapped a ten-month slump in May with a rise of 13.3% as the output of electric vehicles more than doubled and the sector recovered from pandemic lows, industry data showed on Thursday.

Factories produced 62,284 vehicles last month, compared with 54,962 units, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said. Production of battery electric cars jumped to 4,525 units.

"May's return to growth for UK car output is hugely welcome after 10 months of decline, indicating the sector's fundamental resilience," SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said.

"Any recovery, however, will be gradual as supply chain deliveries remain erratic, business costs volatile and geopolitical instability still very real."

Indicative of the challenges, the overall output number was still 46.3% below the pre-pandemic month in 2019, with the sector struggling to ramp up production in the face of parts shortages, rising costs and disruption caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Of all new cars built, 82.1% were for exports and nearly six in ten of those were shipped to the European Union. But exports to the United States fell by 35.4%, mainly due to the closure of a major UK plant in 2021 that was still affecting transatlantic shipment levels.

(Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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