Even then, due to the booming sector over the past two years, the industry is a far cry from where it was in 2009, and has been at the forefront of the economic recovery.
Prior to Q2, the automobile sector outperformed other areas of industry, which continue to move slowly out of the recession. Such is the rate of growth that analysts predict 2m cars a year will be made in Britain by 2017, beating the record 1.92m car output in 1972.
Indeed, as CEO of the Automotive Investment Organisation Joe Greenwell puts it, the UK automotive sector “is thriving and ‘brand Britain’ vehicles are recognised around the world as a mark of premium quality, reliability and innovation.”
This is partly due to the fact that 80 per cent of cars and 65 per cent of engines made in the UK in the first four months of 2014 were built for export. British factories built 538,240 cars, a 6.9 per cent increase compared with the same period last year.
Car manufacturing is in fact Britain’s largest sector in terms of exports by value, and this success is largely attributable to several manufacturers who started assembly of new models this year and billions of pounds of investment still to reach production fruition.
A concerted effort to reposition the UK as the leader for high-end, premium models by Jaguar Land Rover, BMW’s Mini brand and Bentley, combined with decisions by manufacturers such as Nissan and General Motors to make the UK a European base for their more popular models, has seen the export value of UK cars double to £25bn per year.
Jaguar Land Rover has committed £370m to building the world’s largest aluminium body shop in Solihull, Honda has pumped a further £267m into its Wiltshire plant, the BMW Group is heading towards the end of a three-year, £500m investment plan, Aston Martin plans to invest £20m to extend its factory and global headquarters in Warwickshire, and in August 2013, Bentley announced a £800m project to build its first sports utility vehicle.
Business secretary Vince Cable explains that “these figures are another sign that the British car industry is going from strength to strength – with one vehicle rolling off a production line somewhere in the UK every 20 seconds. It is evident that our success lies in the appetite from countries around the world for British cars – a testament to the diverse, high quality of British manufacturing.”
“We are on the threshold of a golden era of British car manufacturing,” said John Leech, UK head of automotive at KPMG. “We have firmed up our forecast for UK vehicle production and are now confident of seeing the 2m vehicle barrier broken in 2017.”
This is testament that the “Made in Britain” label is now sought after the world over. This year’s Growing Business Awards will once again include the “Made in Britain” Award, which recognises technically excellent, innovative and world-beating technologies designed, developed and manufactured in the UK. Does this sound like you or know of someone who fits the bill? Nominations are open now and will close on the 19th September. For more information and to submit your free nomination, visit the Growing Business Awards site.
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