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The Vauxhall Vivaro is one of the few vans to be produced in any volume in the UK since Ford stopped making the Transit in Southampton

IT’S getting harder to buy a British-built van – but those you can buy will mostly be Vauxhalls.

Latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), showed that UK production of commercial vehicles dropped by almost 22 per cent in 2013.

£78 million will be invested at Vauxhall’s Luton plant to build the new Vivaro

The SMMT’s number crunchers blame the struggling economy throughout mainland Europe, and manufacturers restructuring their operations – a prime example of this being Ford ending production of the Transit in Southampton.

And while van sales in the UK may be soaring, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes doesn’t expect a big boost in the 87,671 CVs made in the UK any time soon.

“With early signs of recovery on the continent and better performance in the truck and bus sectors, there are reasons to be positive, but we expect overall volumes to remain subdued for some months yet,” Hawes says.

In Vauxhall’s UK van factory in Luton, however, there is rather more optimism.

Vauxhall is claiming the title of Britain’s number one van maker for the 12th year running, having built some 44,657 examples of its Vivaro at Luton during 2013. Of these 18,180 went to UK customers, a jump of 34 per cent and clearly demonstrating how the UK is currently leading the market.

“We are delighted to be the UK’s leading van manufacturer for the 12th year running,” says Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall’s Chairman and Managing Director. The Luton plant is currently having £78 million of investment poured into it as part of a programme to prepare for the new Vivaro launching later this year.  More than 1200 people are employed by Vauxhall in the Luton area.

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