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Top Gear is right: UK manufacturing isn’t dead

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On last night’s Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson and co. paid tribute to Britain’s vehicle manufacturing sector.

“We’re always being told that Britain’s manufacturing industry is dead, and that we don’t make anything anymore,” Clarkson lamented. “Turns out, we do.”

The trio gathered manufacturers of cars, heavy machinery and other vehicles from all across the country for a parade down Pall Mall, as a display of the might this sector still has.

Clarkson rolled out a succession of statistics to demonstrate just how significant motor manufacturing is in Britain.

A new car is made in Britain every 20 seconds. One in three of all Ford engines used worldwide is made in Britain. Sunderland’s Nissan plant makes more cars a year than the entire Italian motor industry.

He also pointed to the international strength of brands like Range Rover, and the incredible influence of the UK in motor sport, to demonstrate the strength of UK Plc.

The team have a point, and whilst this quiet success is particularly true of the motor industry, the whole sector is still fairly resilient. Although the financial downturn has certainly exacerbated some elements of industrial decline, some industries remain strong.

Whilst the UK is never going to be a competitive place to produce some products, high-tech industries can benefit from the UK’s strong skills base and business links.

Along with aforementioned motor industry, aerospace and mechanical equipment are a big part of the UK economy. The rise of concerns over environmental issues and sustainability have laid the foundations for growth in green tech manufacturing.

Research released today by the CBI revealed that despite struggling with performance at the moment, Britain’s manufacturers are showing great optimism for the future.

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