MOTORING bosses says UK car production has made a steady start to 2014.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed 128,620 cars were made in January, just 0.3 per cent lower than a year ago.

It said 25,239 vehicles were made for the home market last month, which was a 6.2 per cent fall on January 2013, though cars produced for export grew 1.2 per cent to 103,381.

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Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “There has been a solid start to 2014, matching the strength of January last year.

“We expect domestic car output to accelerate throughout the year as new model introductions reach full volume.

“We also anticipate further growth as investments by some of the world's largest automotive brands become reality, creating more jobs and huge opportunities for UK suppliers.”

The figures come after the SMMT said 2.26 million new vehicles were registered last year, a rise of about 11 per cent from 2012, meaning the UK is now Europe's second-largest car maker behind Germany.

Those numbers were boosted by Sunderland car maker Nissan, which sold more than 50,000 Qashqai models last year.