Thursday, 21 January 2016

British car output rises 4% in 2015

British manufacturers made more cars in 2015 than any year since 2005.

In 2015, 1,595,697 vehicles were produced, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

      Production increased 3.9 per cent on 2014 with output at 1,587,677 overtaking pre-recession levels for the first time.

A record number of cars – representing 77.3 per cent of total production – was for export, with 1,227,881 units leaving the UK, up 2.7 per cent on 2014 levels.

Challenges were experienced in some global markets such as China, where demand fell by 37.5 per cent, and Russia, where export volumes declined 69.4 per cent.

However, the economic recovery in Europe, the UK’s biggest trading partner, boosted demand for UK-built cars considerably by 11.3 per cent in 2015. The region now accounts for 57.5 per cent of all UK car exports.

Appetite for British-built cars grew significantly in other key and emerging regions, demonstrating the strength and diversity of UK manufacturing and product.

In the US, demand rose by more than a quarter (26.5 per cent), making it the UK’s biggest trading destination outside the EU, ahead of China.

Meanwhile, notable growth was also seen in Australia, South Korea, Turkey and Japan with volumes up 53.7 per cent, 55.2 per cent, 41.1 per cent and 35.4 per cent respectively.

British consumer and business demand for British-made cars also contributed to last year’s success, with the home car market rising 8.1% on the previous year. One in seven new cars registered in the UK in 2015 was made in Britain.  

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,” he concluded.

The performance of UK automotive is “very different” compared with UK manufacturing as a whole, according to Office for National Statistics figures, which show the average manufacturing output to have slowed in recent months.

Eight brand new car models were produced in UK plants in 2015, and with £2.5 billion of fresh investment committed to the sector in 2015, more are set to follow in the coming months.

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