The UK economy received a boost today after new figures revealed a record number of new cars were exported last year.
British manufacturers built 1.46 million cars last year – an increase of 8 per cent on 2011 and the best since 2008.
And models being exported have gone through the roof, with 1.2 million of the new cars built on British soil heading abroad.
The automotive industry injects around £55 billion turnover in the UK economy and has attracted £6 billion of investment in recent years with much of this coming from foreign manufacturers.
Japanese firm Nissan is the UK’s biggest automotive manufacturer, building 510,572 cars at its plants in Sunderland – an increase of 6.3 per cent.
Land Rover continues to show what a success story it is for the UK economy after it built 305,467 premium cars at sites in Halewood and Solihull.
This was an increase of 28.2 per cent on 2011 with emerging markets like China and Russia clamouring to get hold of the Range Rover Evoque.
|The UK’s top car manufacturers (Name, Plant location, Sales, Year +/-)|
|1) Nissan, Sunderland, 510,572, 6.3%
2) Land Rover, Solihull / Halewood, 305,467, 28.2%
3) Mini, Oxford, 207,530, 8.4%
4) Honda, Swindon, 165,630, 69.9%
5) Toyota, Derby, 109,429, -14.6%
6) Vauxhall, Ellesmere Port, 90,187, -34.6%
7) Jagaur, Castle Bromwich, 55,916, 12%
8) Others, 18,622, -0.9%
Mini, which is owned by BMW, was the third biggest car maker in the UK last year with 207,530 models built, up 8.4 per cent on the previous year.
Business secretary Vince Cable praised the automotive sector and the achievements of its “flexible, skilled and committed workforce”.
He said: “News that UK car production increased by 9 per cent in 2012 and exports are at record levels is a great tribute to our manufacturing strengths, particularly in the face of challenging trading conditions in Europe and strong international competition.
“The UK is achieving success by making products that are in demand across the world. We have a diverse and innovative automotive sector with some of the most productive plants in the world and a flexible, skilled and committed workforce.
“The government is creating a highly supportive business environment to ensure that UK manufacturers continue to flourish as well as encouraging further investment in the UK automotive sector, including the supply chain.
“There is no room for complacency and to build on this competitive advantage we are working jointly with the auto sector on a long term industrial strategy.”
But there was bad news for the commercial vehicle market which continuing to struggles in the face of the Eurocrisis.
Figures show van building slumped 6.8 per cent for the whole of 2012 and 18.9 per cent for December.
This follows the announcement in October that Ford would be shutting its Southampton plant where it builds the Transit with the loss of 500 jobs.
Demand for commercial vehicles in the Eurozone has plummeted in recent years due to austerity measures.
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive said, “2012 was a very good year for UK car production with record levels of exports and volumes at their highest since 2008.
“The outlook for 2013 remains positive with demand in many faster growing global markets offsetting the continued weakness in European economies.
“The #6 billion of investment committed to UK facilities, new model programmes and R&D signals a bright future and many new opportunities for companies in the supply chain.
“These remain extremely challenging times and it is essential industry and government continue to work together to secure long-term industrial growth.”