Best year in a decade for UK car manufacturing

  • UK car manufacturing reaches 10-year high, growing 3.9% to 1,587,677 vehicles

  • More cars exported than ever before, up 2.7% on previous year at 1,227,881

  • Domestic production suggest 8.1% to 359,796 to meet increasing demand for British-built cars

  • EU demand grows 11.3%, with 57.5% of exports destined for the continent.

  • US overtakes China as UK’s largest export destination, with demand up by a quarter.

These are the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders (SMMT). British manufacturer made more cars in 2015 than any year since 2005 when 1,595,697 vehicles were produced.

A record number of cars – representing 77.3% of total production – was for export, with 1,227,881 units leaving the UK, up 2.7% on 2014 levels. Challenges were experienced in some global markets such as China, where demand fell by 37.5%, and Russia, where export volumes declined 69.4%. However, the economic recovery in Europe, the UK’s biggest trading partner, boosted demand for UK-built cars considerably by 11.3% in 2015. The region now accounts for 57.5% of all UK car exports.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Despite export challenges in some key markets such as Russia and China, foreign demand for British-built cars has been strong, reaching record export levels in the past year. Achieving these hard fought for results is down to vital investment in the sector, world class engineering and a committed and skilled UK workforce – one of the most productive in the world.

“Continued growth in an intensely competitive global marketplace is far from guaranteed, however, and depends heavily on global economic conditions and political stability. Europe is our biggest trading partner and the UK’s membership of the European Union is vital for the automotive sector in order to secure future growth and jobs.”