The country's output of cars fell by ten per cent last month, confirming a slowdown in the market that began last year.

Factories turned out 117,829 vehicles in July, 9.6 per cent fewer than in the same year last month.

Output for the first seven months of year was 6.3 per cent down at 917,347 units, figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed yesterday.

On the upside, more than three quarters of July's car production was destined for foreign markets, SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan said.

Land Rover and Jaguar were among four manufacturers that increased output in July, the SMMT said without giving figures for individual manufacturers and plants.

The increase is accounted for by a ramp up in production of the new Freelander 2 model at Land Rover's Halewood plant while Jaguar is doing well with its new XK sports car which it builds at Castle Bromwich, Birmingham.

"With European volumes subdued at present, it was of little surprise that the total UK output levels were slightly lower in July," Mr Macgowan said.

"It is very encouraging to see the likes of Toyota, Honda, Land Rover and Jaguar posting significant growth."

Toyota's plant at Burnaston is producing higher numbers of the new Avensis car while Honda's Swindon factory is producing the new Civic.

The UK's commercial vehicle sector reversed out of its downturn in July, producing 15,318 vehicles, 7.5 per cent more than in the same month last year. The sector was 2.3 per cent adrift over the first seven months of the year at 121,439 units.

The CV market was boosted by a "big increase" in van production last month.