RAC Cars News


Booming Britain

By raccars Published

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It may not feel much like it as you struggle through the daily grind, but Britain is booming, and its automotive industry has been one of the key factors propelling it to success. Currently worth about £70 billion, the automotive picture in the UK is rosier than ever, providing more jobs and creating more export value. 27,000 new employees found work in the field last year, meaning the sector now supports nearly 800,000 workers.

While Britain has a fine history of leading the automotive field, today those workers are more skilled, safer and more productive than ever before and the cars they make are more environmentally friendly. Since 2000, the industry has cut the amount of energy used to produce each car by almost half.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), releases its monthly new car registrations figures showing record sales, while its annual Sustainability Report shows that turnover was up by more than 6% last year.

Production is at its highest level since 2007, with 1.53 million cars built here last year. We also built 2.5 million engines and Jaguar Land Rover's new Wolverhampton factory is set to boost that figure even more this year. UK auto production reached an all-time high in 1972, with 1.92 million units. However, 2017 looks set to better that, with a forecast of 1.95 million cars.

Not only is the domestic picture rosy, but 80% of those new cars are destined for export, contributing billions to the UK economy. 2014's total export value was £34.6 billion, over 100% higher than in 2000. Much of that money goes back to the UK economy, while there's also the prestige of building cars which are loved the world over.

Britain has also become the home of the premium motor. Budget cars, like the Metro, Micra and the Mini, used to be our automotive bread and butter, but now we are known more for the likes of Bentley, Jaguar and Land Rover. The old Mini has been reborn in premium style, as the BMW Mini - German owned but built in Britain. Niche brands are also thriving, with Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, McLaren, Lotus and Morgan, for example, all working alongside high volume mainstream brands.

A knock on effect is that Britain is also now leading the world in modern technology, driven in part by car manufacturers' determination to be the first to introduce automotive innovation. The IT industry and electronics giants are all working with car makers, to ensure Britain leads the high tech world.

The dark days of British Leyland seem a very long way away...

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