By Peter Jones
The number of cars manufactured in the UK last month was 12% higher than in the corresponding period of last year, according to official figures.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) says the increase was driven by demand from Europe, with 142,158 cars being made on UK soil in March.
So far in 2014 almost 405,000 cars have been manufactured, up 2.9% on the same period in 2013.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "The 12% growth in UK car production in March 2014 is a significant step forward after a period of product changes at the start to the year.
Rise in demand for new cars
"After several years in the doldrums, European demand for new cars is now picking up, with growth in the last seven months.
"This is a welcome boost for the UK's volume manufacturers for whom Europe is the key market.
"As new models are launched and investments realised, the sector remains on course for all-time record levels of output by 2017."
It was not all good news for car manufacturers though, with commercial vehicle (CV) production for the home market dipping 27.8% in March and production for export falling 6.1%.
In total 8,027 commercial vehicles were made in March, 17.7% down on the 2013 figure.
Fall in commercial vehicle production
Hawes said: "UK CV figures continue to be swayed by restructuring of some operations in 2013 and the pull-forward of demand in the heavy commercial sector.
"There are signs of optimism, however, helped by early signs of revival in European demand.
"This bodes well for the future as new products and investments in the CV sector come into play throughout the year."
Meanwhile, SMMT is set to revise its forecast for the number of new car registrations in 2014, with its 1.2% estimated increase somewhat lower than other predictions of 5%.