Korean demand for British-built cars up 476% since 2009
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is to lead a delegation of specialist UK automotive companies in a trade visit to Seoul, as the industry seeks to strengthen business links and partnerships with Korean companies.
The trade mission comes on the back of a record UK-Korea trading year. Korea is now the third biggest Asian export hub for the UK automotive industry – and the eighth largest export market. British car exports to Korea have grown by a record 476 per cent, with 13,337 vehicles shipped to the country last year compared with 2315 in 2009.
Asia as a whole is now the UK automotive industry’s largest export market after Europe, with 18.5 per cent of all cars destined for the region.
With a high level presence at the 28th Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS28) this May in Seoul, SMMT and a selected group of automotive companies will exhibit a diverse range of products, from components to engineering expertise in fields such as power train systems and electrical engineering.
The UK automotive industry is in the world’s top 10 countries by turnover and is one of the most dynamic in Europe. Since 2011, the industry has attracted more than £14 billion ($20 billion), creating 30,000 new jobs in the process.
The UK is the home of luxury vehicle assembly, with Aston Martin, Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover and Rolls-Royce all producing new and technologically advanced models. Global volume players such as Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan and Toyota also have major manufacturing operations here, while an array of specialist, commercial and niche manufacturers, as well as seven of the world’s Formula One teams, add to the sector’s vibrancy.
Part of the UK’s competitiveness is its strength in design and development, with OEMs and bespoke R&D companies flourishing here. Crucially, the UK has also become a centre of excellence for the development of advanced low carbon technologies. Some of the leading companies in this field can be seen on the SMMT stand at EVS28, reflecting the focus of the UK’s 2500+ component makers.
Strong Government support has been an important driver of innovation in the UK automotive sector, with cross government-industry initiatives such as the Automotive Council, Automotive Industrial Strategy and Advanced Propulsion Centre making the UK an attractive place to invest and develop the next generation of advanced vehicle technologies.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “Economic growth in Korea over the past five years has seen demand for new cars – and vehicle technology – accelerate. A desire for high quality premium vehicles with a strong brand heritage, and for cutting edge components and systems, has placed the UK in a prime position to take advantage of this emerging market. The British automotive industry’s success in Korea and wider Asian markets is down to the high quality of our globally competitive products built with our engineering excellence and our highly skilled workforce.
“The UK automotive sector is ‘open for business’, with an international outlook and a competitive investment environment, as well as tremendous opportunities and talent, all of which attract global partners.”