British car manufacturing output reached 17-year high in 2016

British car manufacturing output reached a 17-year high in 2016, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The UK produced a total of approximately 1.7 million cars last year, an 8.5% increase compared to the previous year and the highest figure since 1999.

Exports rose 10.3% to a record 1.35 million. Roughly eight out of every ten cars made in the UK last year were exported.

Exports to the rest of the EU rose by 7.5% to 758,680 in 2016, accounting for over half of all UK car exports, while US demand surged by 47.2%, now accounting for around 14.5% of all UK car exports.

Source: SMMT

Jaguar Land Rover was the country’s top manufacturer last year, producing 544,000 cars, up six per cent from 2015. Nissan followed, making half a million cars, while Mini produced 211,000 vehicles.

The best-selling cars produced in the UK last year were the Nissan Qashqai, Toyota Auris, Mini, Vauxhall Astra, Range Rover Sport and Evoque, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Honda Civic, Jaguar F-Pace and Jaguar XE.

However, investment by car makers in the UK dropped from £2.5bn in 2015 to £1.7bn last year amid uncertainty regarding the outcome of Brexit.

Manufacturers are holding back investment until there is greater clarity about the UK’s future trading relations with the rest of the world.

Mr 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.

“Significant investment in new plants and products over the past few years has driven this growth, not a post-Brexit bounce.

“We want trade deals but they must be the right deals, not rushed deals.

“Failure to do so could damage UK automotive manufacturing beyond repair.”

Meanwhile, Business Secretary Greg Clark believes Britain’s car industry will continue to grow.

Mr Clark was quoted by the BBC as saying:

“Our modern industrial strategy will make the UK one of the most competitive places in the world to grow a business and these figures show why the UK automotive sector has such a vital role to play as we build on our strengths and extend excellence into the future.”