Export boom lifts UK car production

The appetite for new cars may have waned in the UK, but the export market is thriving. Car manufacturers shipped 80% of their output overseas last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

Car production has recently seen a renaissance (it was in truly dire straits a few years back). Car-makers saw a 1.6% rise in production in December alone. A total of 1,343,810 vehicles trundled off the assembly line last year - a 5.8% increase on 2010. That’s not bad, considering that UK car sales have fallen by 4.4%.

‘We have some of the best plants in the UK that are amongst the most productive in Europe,’ says business secretary Mark Prisk. ‘The automotive sector demonstrates that the UK can successfully compete for business across the world.’

It’s not just the vehicles themselves that are driving revenue. Britain made 2.5 million shiny new engines last year, up 4.9% on 2010. That’s a lot of vroom. Paul Everitt, chief executive of the SMMT, is glowing with pride. ‘UK vehicle and engine production continues to lead the manufacturing recovery,’ he says.

So, which car-makers are fuelling the boom? Nissan's Sunderland plant produced more than 480,000 cars last year, up 13.5% on the year before. Over in Ellesmere Port, Vauxhall just shifted its 100,000th Astra Sports Tourer and, in Halewood, Land Rover just reported a new £32bn supply contract for its Evoque model.

But no everyone’s speeding into 2012 with record sales. Honda's Swindon plant, Jaguar's Castle Bromwich site and Mini's Oxford site all saw slight drops in output.

Even so, it's shaping up to be a decent year in the motor trade. Honest, guv.

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