Here’s one for the pub quiz. What has the Toyota Auris got in common with the Infiniti QX30 and Bentley Bentayga? They are all built in the UK, along with many other mainstream, specialist and premium cars.
Britain has been a centre for mass car production since Ford opened a factory in Trafford Park, Manchester to assemble the Model T back in 1911. Since then a host of car makers have established plants in the UK to satisfy the demands of domestic, continental and global buyers.
The UK’s history as a car producer has had its fair share of ups and downs. Let’s not forget the wildcat strikes of the 1970s, the epic failure of Rover in the 1990s and the acquisition of all the big British marques by overseas giants.
Today, however, car manufacturing remains one of the powerhouses of the British economy. Not only is it a major employer and supporter of hundreds of supply chain businesses, but it has made the country a centre for large-scale foreign investment.
It’s also worth noting that eight out of ten cars produced in the UK are exported; that’s over 1.3 million units to over 160 countries. The biggest market for these cars is the EU, which accounts for 53% of all cars made here, although the jury is out on how these exports will be treated post-Brexit.
The second biggest market for UK-built cars is the US (15.7%), followed by China (7.5%); evidently both countries can’t get enough Jaguar, Land Rover, Bentley and MINI models as they both imported significantly more cars from us last year than they did in 2016.
The UK’s status as one of the top international producers of cars is being recognised this year by The Car Expert with our Best of British campaign; we can also exclusively reveal that UK car manufacturing will feature prominently at the 2018 London Motor Show.
The show runs from 17-20 May at the ExCeL Centre in London’s Docklands, with a dedicated Built in Britain area displaying cars built here by everyone from Honda and Vauxhall to Infiniti, McLaren and Rolls-Royce by way of local sports car specialists TVR and Noble and many, many more.
While UK car production has been in the headlines for the taking a 3% year-on-year dip in 2017 to 1.67 million units, what many of the media reports neglected to mention was that it was still at its second highest level since 1999 and was the first fall since 2009. Furthermore, the decline was not unexpected as the UK market for new cars dropped by nearly 6% last year.
The headlines also omitted the fact that engine production in the UK hit a record level of 2.72 million units produced in the year, up 7% on 2016. Last year, more than 1 million diesel and 1.7 million petrol units, destined for cars and vans made across the world, were built in Britain, delivering £8.5 billion to the economy.
So, with British car manufacturing contributing massively to the UK economy and enjoying strong demand from across the globe, The Car Expert presents the most popular models to be built in Britain in 2017.
Next page: The top ten cars built in the UK
Keep reading: All the cars currently built in the UK