UK car export values double in a decade

Income generated by UK car exports more than doubled over the last decade, according to data collated by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Exports totalled £12 billion in 2004, but rose to £24.8 billion in 2013. During the same period the average wholesale value of each exported car rose from £10,200 (2004) to £20,640 (2013).

At the organisation’s International Automotive Summit in Canary Wharf on 11 June, SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes also revealed that, alongside rising manufacturing volumes, the income surge is largely attributable to the shift to building higher-quality models across the country.

“Countries around the world are spending twice what they were 10 years ago on UK-built cars. This reflects the thriving nature of our domestic industry and our global reputation for engineering expertise,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

“With booming production volumes and the increasing value of UK car manufacturing, we are enjoying healthy demand from both growing and established markets. We want this success to continue but urgently need more young people to join our industry, working in every area from design and engineering to manufacturing and retail.”

UK car manufacturers produced more than 1.5 million cars last year, and are on course to break all-time records by passing the two-million barrier by 2017. Around 80 per cent of cars built in the UK are exported, half of which are destined for the rest of the EU. Exports to wider global markets have increased markedly over the past decade, however, helped by growing worldwide demand for premium vehicles and the significant investments committed to the UK by global manufacturers.

The SMMT reports that UK has been quick to react to global car buying trends, and the booming demand for premium vehicles worldwide has led to a shift in the manufacturing landscape. In volume terms, 28.9 per cent of the UK’s exports were made up of premium and specialist brands in 2004, whereas, by 2013, this had increased to 42.4 per cent. This pattern is also evident in the number of models built for each category, with premium models moving from the minority in 2004 to account for almost 60 per cent of the UK model count last year.

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