Car makers predict 60% production boost by 2020 – but only if right conditions prevail

Mike Hawes SMMT

The UK’s specialist, low volume car manufacturing industry is set to enjoy a 60% production boost by 2020, thanks to increasing global demand – but the industry needs political leadership that delivers a competitive environment, globally, and a future relationship with the EU that safeguards as many of the benefits that we currently enjoy as possible says the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)

In its latest UK Specialist Car Manufacturers Report, the trade body confirms Britain is home to the largest and most diverse specialist car manufacturing sector in the world, with some of the most globally recognised and iconic brands.

The sector is a global leader in engineering, design and craftsmanship, producing a wide range of cutting-edge products, from high performance sports cars, luxury grand tourers and SUVs, to electric taxis and wheelchair accessible vehicles.

Latest figures show that in 2016 these car makers turned over a collective £3.6bn, up 52% from 2012. In addition, they employed 11,250 people – an 11.5% increase on five years ago – the majority in highly skilled, specialist roles, while also supporting tens of thousands additional jobs across the supply chain.

Thanks to an increasing number of affluent buyers and new markets taking an increasing interest in performance driving and luxury models, production is on an upward trend. Output has risen by a quarter (25%) since 2012 and, by 2020, it is forecast to surge 60%, from the current 32,000 units to some 52,000.

The sector is an important contributor to the UK economy, with 65% of the vehicles it produces exported to markets worldwide, including the EU, United States, China, Japan and the Gulf States.

Just as importantly, it supports an equally diverse UK supply chain, sourcing, on average, two thirds (65%) of vehicle content from local tier one companies and a further 30% from across the wider EU.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, says, “Our specialist car manufacturing sector is one of the UK’s global success stories – making world-leading products and pioneering next generation technologies that benefit everyone. For this to continue we need certainty on Britain’s future trading relationships, including customs plans, market access, regulations governing the design, production and approval of vehicles, and rules around movement of skilled workers. This will provide the assurance the sector needs to remain competitive and make investment decisions that enable it to continue to develop innovative, exciting and desirable products that are the envy of the world.”