PRN: 17 Year High for British Car Manufacturing in 2016 as Chinese Demand for British Made Vehicles Continues to Grow

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17 Year High for British Car Manufacturing in 2016 as Chinese Demand for British Made Vehicles Continues to Grow


LONDON, January 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

  • 1.7 million cars built in the UK in 2016, an increase of 8.8% and the highest output for 17 years.
  • Exports at record levels for the second consecutive year as more than 1.35 million cars shipped worldwide.
  • More than one in two cars exported to the EU, our single biggest trading partner, with demand up 7.5%.
  • China remains UK Automotive's third biggest export destination as demand bounces back 3.1%.

UK car production achieved a 17-year high in 2016, according to the latest figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 1,727,471 vehicles rolled off production lines last year from some 15 manufacturers, an 8.8% uplift on total production 2015 - and the highest output since 1999.

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More cars are now being exported from Britain than ever before, the result of investment made over recent years in world-class production facilities, cutting-edge design and technology and one of Europe's most highly skilled and productive workforces. Ten brand new car models began production in the UK last year, nine of them from premium brands which has helped make the UK the second biggest producer of premium cars in Europe, after Germany and the third biggest car producer.[1]

Production growth was predominantly driven by overseas demand, with global appetite for British-built cars rising by 10.3% to an all-time high of 1,354,216 - a second consecutive annual record. Around eight out of every 10 cars manufactured in the UK is now exported, bound for one of 160 markets worldwide. 

China, the world's largest car market, remained the UK's third biggest trading partner after the EU and US, with demand growing 3.1% after falling 37.5% the previous year. Almost 90,000 Chinese car buyers chose British brands in 2016 - all of them from the premium sector. Meanwhile, notable uplifts were also seen in US, Japan, Turkey and Canada.

Continuing economic recovery across Europe accounted for the bulk of the UK's car export growth, with production for the continent boosted by 7.5% to 758,680. The region not only accounts for more than half of UK car exports, but supplies the majority of the components fitted to them, underlining the critical importance of the tariff and barrier-free trade to the future of UK automotive production.

Domestic demand for UK built cars also grew last year, up 3.7% in the year, and the UK remains the second largest car market in Europe, again after Germany. One in seven new cars registered by UK buyers is now made in Britain, up from one in eight three years ago.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, "The tremendous growth in UK production is testament to the global competitiveness of the UK automotive sector. High class engineering, advanced technology and a workforce committed to quality have helped turn around the industry, making the UK among the most productive places in Europe to make cars. China remains a vitally important market for the UK automotive industry, as well as a crucial trading partner in terms of materials and components - relationships we wish to see thrive in the future."

Top 5 British Bestsellers in China  

  1. Range Rover Sport
  2. Land Rover Discovery
  3. Jaguar F Pace
  4. MINI
  5. Range Rover

       THE UK EXPORTS TO MORE THAN 160 COUNTRIES WORLDWIDE        UK Car manufacturing    Dec-15    Dec-16    % Change     YTD-15    YTD-16   % Change     Total                  114,842    113,976    -0.8%    1,587,677  1,727,471      8.8%     Home                    19,656     18,669    -5.0%      359,796    373,255      3.7%     Export                  95,186     95,307     0.1%    1,227,881  1,354,216     10.3%     % export                 82.9%      83.6%                 77.3%      78.4%              TOP EXPORT DESTINATIONS FOR UK CARS                            2016 share     EU                      56%     USA                   14.5%     China                  6.5%     Turkey                 3.1%     Australia              2.5%     Japan                  1.9%     Canada                 1.8%     South Korea            1.7%     Israel                 1.1%     Russia                   1% 

Notes to editors 

(1) Aston Martin DB11; Bentley Bentayga; Jaguar F-Pace; Infiniti Q30; Infiniti QX30; Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible; McLaren 540; McLaren 570; Rolls Royce Dawn; Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

About SMMT and the UK automotive industry 

SMMT is one of the  UK's largest and most influential trade associations, supporting the interests of UK Automotive, and promoting a united position to government, stakeholders and media. 

The automotive industry is a vital part of the UK economy accounting for £71.6bn turnover and £18.9bn value added. With 169,000 people employed in manufacturing and 814,000 across the wider industry, it accounts for 12.0% of total UK export of goods and invests £2.5bn each year in R&D. Some 30 manufacturers build more than 70 vehicle models  supported by 2,000 component providers and some of the world's most skilled engineers. More at


Keely Scanlan 

Lucy Bielby   

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