Bouncing back: UK car industry recovers to pre-recession success


A resurgence in the UK car industry has seen turnover rise to £49bn, with the number of car and vans being built hitting pre-recession levels for the first time – leaping by almost one third in 2010.

The figures are according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the car industry trade association, which has looked at the full year performance of the UK automotive industry for 2010.

In a statement, the SMMT said: "UK automotive manufacturing bucked the economic trend last year, increasing its production volumes, turnover, level of investment and number of employees, all while continuing to make major strides in reducing the environmental footprint of its products and manufacturing processes."

Manufacturing turnover is up by one fifth, while car output goes up by 27.8 percent. At the same time, CO2 emissions are down for every vehicle made, by just over ten percent on average.

Nine percent more apprenticeships were added to the industry during the year, meaning it now supports over 737,000 jobs in the UK.

SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: "Automotive continues to attract major international investment, create high value jobs and cut its environmental impact but the UK must continue to compete on a global platform to secure future growth.

"We must incentivise private sector investment in R&D, training and equipment and ensure our commitment to be a leader in low carbon manufacturing supports our international competitiveness."

More than 75 percent of the vehicles made in the UK are exported, with the country housing seven major car manufacturers, six commercial vehicle makers, 11 bus and coach makers and ten niche car companies. More than one million vehicles and twice that number of engines are produced annually in the UK.

Eight Formula One teams have bases here, too, while the UK's part in the automotive supply chain globally is worth an estimated £5bn.

But despite the positivity, year-to-date new car registrations are down this year as compared to 2010, by 4.5 percent. To date (end of October 2011), just under 1.7m new cars have been registered in the UK.