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3.1% rise in UK car production is mainly due to overseas appeal of models

The newly released data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) shows that output rose 3.1% last year to over 1.5 million units, equating to a vehicle rolling off a production line somewhere in the UK every 20 seconds.

The announcement has led some industry analysts to predict that output will reach record levels of around two million units by 2017.

Phil Harrold, automotive partner, PwC, commented: ‘A number of people may link the rise in car production to the rise in new vehicle registrations reported earlier this month, but this is a false link.

‘The UK car industry is export-led and success at the moment is largely due to exporting to certain key markets. Premium or niche vehicles have strong overseas appeal and these make up the majority of UK vehicle production: Jaguar Land Rover manufactures approximately 425,000 units annually, Mini almost 200,000 and Nissan almost 250,000. The current uplift is reliant on recovering or existing strong markets and the continuing trend relies on growth in the USA and China.

‘In contrast to the premium vehicles being exported, the UK and European market largely demands compact vehicles. Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Vauxhall are the main players here. European demand is depressed and shows no sign of increasing over the next two years.’

He added: ‘The exception to this is manufacturers developing high-end technical niche products, for example the Toyota Auris. Future success for the UK and European markets lies in technology and materials innovation, for example aluminium and hybrid vehicles.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.