CV production in the UK rose by 26.5% latest figures showed, with manufacturers recording their best May performance for a decade.

The SMMT said 7,900 new trucks and vans, as well as buses, coaches and taxis, left the factory lines during the month, continuing a strong start to 2022 with five consecutive months of growth.

The business group said growth was driven by exports, with production for overseas markets growing by 91.6% - partly due to demand following the end of lockdown measures in other countries.

Meanwhile, output for UK customers plummeted by 26.5%. The SMMT said almost seven in 10 GB-built CVs were exported in May, with 91.8% destined for the EU.

Year-to-date production figures are up 44% on 2021 and 29.1% up on the same period in 2019, making it the best January to May performance since 2012.

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The SMMT said this was evidence of robust demand from fleet operators and the capacity of CV manufacturers to deliver the goods despite global supply constraints and domestic economic challenges.

However, it also said that the sector needed certainty and stability as it transitions towards net zero solutions, at a time when the wider automotive industry faced a £90m increase in energy bills.

“The CV sector is a rare beacon amid the gloom of economic challenges being faced by businesses and fleet operators in the UK,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

“With the best year to May output for a decade and a growing number of zero-emission commercial vehicle models for a wider range of use cases, there are grounds for optimism.

“However, competitiveness is not guaranteed as rising energy costs and inflation continue to have a detrimental impact on manufacturers and markets.

“These issues must be tackled head-on, to enable investment in innovation and training that will drive the CV sector’s transition to net zero, futureproofing jobs and livelihoods for years to come.”