Britain's motor industry shrugged aside the collapse of MG Rover in May to become one of the main forces behind a slow but persistent recovery in overall manufacturing output since its low point in March.
Manufacturing as a whole rose by only 0.1 per cent between June and July, National Statistics reported yesterday, largely due to a "significant" two per cent increase in transport equipment industries.
NS confirmed that this was largely a matter of rising output of motor vehicles and engines, as was a 1.5 per cent increase in transport equipment in the latest three months compared with February/April.
"There were no significant decreases" in July, NS added.
The numbers coincided with news that the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development had chopped back its forecast for Britain's economic growth this year to
1.9 per cent from 2.4 per cent - while Chancellor Gordon Brown based his March Budget on a Treasury prediction that the economy would grow by three to 3.5 per cent.
The OECD also said the the Bank of England could afford to go on cutting interest rates so long as inflation appears to be under control. The Bank makes it monthly decision on interest rates tomorrow.
Over the three months to July, manufacturing output as a whole rose by 0.3 per cent. Within that, the biggest single driver was a 2.6 per cent gain by food, drink and tobacco.
This recovery, though, still left total output 0.6 per cent short of May/July last year. It marks the longest spell of monthly increases for nearly five years and ends a technical recession in manufacturing.
In terms of broad industrial sectors, capital goods have been setting the pace, rising by
0.5 per cent between June and July and by 2.3 per cent since March.
That pushed their output one per cent higher on a three-monthly comparison and equal to the mid-summer months last year.
The wider measure of industrial production, which includes mining and the extraction of oil and gas, fell by 0.3 per cent between June and July. That was attributed mainly due to routine maintenance work at both oil and gas production sites in July, while problems at a number of collieries hit coal output.
Over the past year, NS said oil and gas production fell by 14.6 per cent, while coal output dropped by almost ten per cent to the second-lowest level since comparable records began in 1968.