UK car production hits 17-year high

UK car production hit a 17-year high last year, producing more than 1.7m cars, a rise of 8.5%, according to the latest figures.

A total of 15 UK manufacturers built 1,722,698 cars in 2016, marking the highest output since 1999, research published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) found.

Thanks to recent investments in car production and a skilled workforce, more cars are being exported from Britain than ever before.

Ten brand new car models began production in the UK last year, nine of them from premium brands, which has helped make the UK the second biggest producer of premium cars after Germany and the third biggest car producer in Europe.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The tremendous growth in UK production is testament to the global competitiveness of the UK automotive sector. High class engineering, advanced technology and a workforce committed to quality have helped turn around the industry, making the UK among the most productive places in Europe to make cars.

Investment announcements in the automotive sector in 2016 hit around £1.66bn across a number of companies, down from £2.5bn in 2015.

Hawes however sounded a warning to the UK government over its negotiations to exit the European Union.

“Significant investment in new plants and products over the past few years has driven this growth, not a post-Brexit bounce. We want trade deals but they must be the right deals, not rushed deals. Failure to do so could damage UK automotive manufacturing beyond repair,” Hawes said.

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