The UK produced 1.7 million cars in 2016, according to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a rise of 8.5% on 2015 and the highest output since 1999.
The growth was mainly fuelled by international demand which increased by 10.3% to 1.35 million cars from 2015. The UK exports around 80% of the cars it manufactures to 160 markets across the world, while exports to the EU also grew and accounted for more than half of UK’s exports, up by 7.5% to 758,680 units.
The USA accounts for approx. 14.5% of all UK car exports, while
smaller increases were recorded in a Turkey, Japan and Canada with a modest increase
of 3% recorded in China.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief Executive, said “The tremendous growth in UK production is testament to the global competitiveness of the UK automotive sector.
He also had some warnings as it was revealed that the investment in the automotive sector totalled £1.66 billion in 2016 across a number of companies, which was down from £2.5 billion in 2015.
“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.”
The imposition of tariffs would be "a red line for the industry," he said. "There would be an impact on demand and jobs - that's a cliff edge we want to avoid."
However, Business Secretary Greg Clark insisted the car industry would thrive, 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."
The UK currently has 15 car manufacturing plants which employ 169,000 and 814,000 across the whole sector.
A list of top 10 British manufactured best sellers included Nissan Qashqai, Toyota Auris, Mini, Vauxhall Astra, Range Rover Sport and Evoque, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Honda Civic, Jaguar F-Pace and Jaguar XE.