More than 1.5 million vehicles rolled off UK production lines last year, the highest number since 2007, annual figures show.

According to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) demand for premium brands – including Jaguar and Land Rover – have helped boost annual sales figures by an overall 1.2%. To put that into context, during 2014, a car was produced every 20 seconds.

This success has had an impact on the wider economy – with the government crediting the car industry as one of the main driving forces behind the recovery.

However, for the second year in a row the number of vehicles being exported has fallen. Mike Hawes, the SMMT's chief executive, commented: "A 1.2% growth in UK car manufacturing in 2014 represents a very successful year.
"The industry has overcome various challenges, including slower than expected EU recovery and weakness in some global markets."

He added that the popularity of premium and specialist brands around the world meant that in real terms the overall value of car exports had doubled between 2005 and 2014.
On the back of increased production and sales, more than £7bn of investment into UK production facilities had been announced in the past two years.

For example Nissan's factory in Sunderland built the most cars by any single British-based manufacturer, with over half a million cars rolling off its production line. Other milestone production figures include:
• 449,507 vehicles produced at Jaguar Land Rover facilities
• 178,993 at the Mini site at Cowley, Oxford
• 172,215 by Toyota at Burnaston, Derby
• 121,799 for Honda at Swindon
• 77,836 by Vauxhall at Ellesmere Port

The SMMT predicts that the number of UK built cars will soar in the coming years and break the all- time car production record - set back in the 1970's - by 2017.

By Tracey McBain