UK car manufacturing hits six year high

Nissan Pathfinder Dash

Photo credit: Stevan Sheets

If you’re thinking of driving a new car using contract hire or car leasing over the next few months, there is a good chance your car will have been built in Britain. New figures have revealed that car manufacturing in the UK hit a six year high in 2013, with one new car rolling off the production line every 20 seconds.

The figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders say that production rose 3.1 per cent on 2012 with demand for new cars being driven by cheap car leasing and higher exports. Keep reading to find out more…

Over 1.5 million cars manufactured in the UK in 2013

The SMMT data shows that more than 1.5 million cars were manufactured in the UK in 2013, equivalent to one every 20 seconds. The trade body believes that the UK could become Europe’s third biggest car maker, behind Germany and Spain, and break all production records by 2017.

Nissan made more than 500,000 cars in Sunderland, while Jaguar Land Rover increased production by 11 per cent to 340,000. Toyota manufactured 179,000, Mini 174,000, Honda 138,000, Jaguar 78,000 and Vauxhall 73,000.

Outside the larger manufacturers, the UK built 22,623 cars last year from specialist makers such as Bentley, Aston Martin, Rolls Royce and Morgan.

The car leading the manufacturing charts in 2013 was the Nissan Qashqai. More than 300,000 of the crossover SUV rolled off its Sunderland production line, which runs 24 hours.

The company has just begun production of the second-generation version, and has said it expects to build it in similar quantities. Demand for the new model is set to be high after What Car? named the second generation Qashqai its Car of the Year for 2014.

Experts and cheap car leasing help to drive demand for new cars

The SMMT reports that four out of five cars built in the UK were sold abroad, with strong demand coming from China, the US and Russia. In addition, new car sales in the UK continued to rise in 2013, with cheap car leasing deals attracting millions of buyers to dealer forecourts.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “2013 demonstrated the value of the UK’s diverse car manufacturing industry, as surging home demand and robust exports outside Europe saw output grow 3.1 per cent to over 1.5 million units.

“UK automotive investment announcements exceeded £2.5 billion in 2013, reinforcing industry analysts’ suggestions that the UK could break all-time car output records within the next four years.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Our success lies in the appetite from countries around the world for British cars.”

“Around 80 per cent of the 1.5 million cars we produced last year were exported – a testament to the diverse, high quality of British manufacturing.”

Commenting on the news, British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said: “This growth would not be possible without fleet and business sales. BVRLA members purchase around 80 per cent of UK manufactured vehicles sold in this country, and are key to helping UK vehicle production reach record-breaking levels by 2017.”

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