Brain Food: Stat of the month - Vehicle manufacturing

2nd to 9th - UK's world ranking for car production, 1950 to 2004

Once a powering Jaguar, the home-owned UK car industry has long since morphed into a Reliant Robin - and the front wheel has finally fallen off.

In 1950, British manufacturers exported three times as many cars as the US and six times more than Germany. Accelerate to 2004, and the US, Germany and Japan produced more than 14 million vehicles between them, the UK 1.6 million. MG Rover, the only British volume carmaker left, has now gone to Nangking, as the workers at Longbridge hang up their overalls.

The biggest producers in Britain are Nissan, Toyota and Honda. We're left inhaling the exhaust while other countries race off with the profit. Even TVR has gone - now, like a certain football team, owned by a young Russian.

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