Britain’s car plants ‘busiest in 12 years’

Car Industry News
Jaguar production line in the UK

Car making in Britain is still soaring, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

In March output from the UK’s car plants increased by 9.8 per cent to 159,074 units, fuelled by a recovery in export markets.

Overseas demand was up 14.3 per cent in the month, while production for the home market was broadly stable, falling slightly by 1.4 per cent. Three quarters of all UK cars made in March, 74.4 per cent, were exported.

First quarter figures reflected the monthly results, with the first three months of 2016 seeing an 11.1 per cent in cars exported from Britain, to 329,653 units, while domestic output also rose, by eight per cent to take overall manufacturing volumes to 443,581, an increase of 10.3 per cent over the same period in 2015.

Further boosting the confidence in the UK car manufacturing industry are the latest productivity figures, showing that in 2015 each employee in automotive manufacturing generated on average £79,700 per car produced, up 1.3 per cent on 2014. This is the highest figure on record, and around twice the UK national average for productivity.

According to SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes, UK car plants were at their busiest for 12 years in March, with a vehicle rolling off production lines every 16 seconds thanks to heightened international demand for British-built cars.

And Hawes is looking forward with confidence: “Much will depend on economic and political conditions in key markets but, with several brand new global models starting production here in the first quarter alone, the prospects for future growth look bright,” he says.

Andrew Charman

Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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