LONDON (Reuters) -- British car production rose sharply last month, helped by an upturn in the number of cars built for export and capping the strongest half-year performance since 2008.
Total production rose 5.4 percent in June to 143,759 cars, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
Cars built for export, which account for around four in five of all British-made cars, rose 9.0 percent to 115,408. But there was a 7.1 percent fall in cars built for the domestic British market.
First-half production increased 0.3 percent to 793,642 in the first half.
John Leech, head of automotive at KPMG UK, said the strong first-half performance was largely due to the launch of new UK-built models including the Jaguar XE and Land Rover Discovery Sport, and the recovering euro zone market.
"We expect even more cars will be made in the second half as further new models from Jaguar Land Rover, Vauxhall and Honda are launched and the euro zone continues to recover, " Leech said in an emailed statement.
KPMG forecasts UK car production will reach 2 million in 2018.
Figures also suggested a sharp increase in productivity among car producers over the last few years, with the sector producing 100,000 pounds in added value per employee in 2014 compared with 74,000 pounds in 2010. By contrast, productivity growth across the economy as a whole has been dire over the same period.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report