British car production rose sharply last month, helped by an upturn in the number of cars built for export and capping the strongest half - year performance since 2008, an industry body said on Thursday. Total production rose 5.4 percent in June compared with the same month a year ago to 143,759 cars, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said. Cars built for export, which account for around four in five of all British-made cars, rose 9.0 percent on the year to 115,408. But there was a 7.1 percent fall in cars built for the domestic British market, Reuters reported. The SMMT said a total of 793,642 cars rolled off the production lines during the first six months of 2015 - a 0.3 percent increase on the same period last year and the best performance in seven years. New figures also suggested a sharp increase in productivity among car producers over the last few years, with the sector producing 100,000 pounds in added value per employee in 2014 compared with 74,000 pounds in 2010. By contrast, productivity growth across the economy as a whole has been dire over the same period. "This success has been built on significant industry investment and has also relied on a positive relationship with government, essential if the industry is to maintain its international competitiveness," said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.