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SMMT releases final car manufacturing figures for 2013

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has published the figures for the UK's car manufacturing industry and the performance has been nothing short of stellar. We already knew that UK car sales had achieved a six year high in 2013 and now the SMMT's figures confirm that the number of cars manufactured has completed the same feat.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has published the figures for the UK's car manufacturing industry and the performance has been nothing short of stellar. We already knew that UK car sales had achieved a six year high in 2013 and now the SMMT's figures confirm that the number of cars manufactured has completed the same feat. British car makers built more than 1.5 million units last year, beating the record achieved in 2007 before the financial crisis set in. Total car sales in the UK, meanwhile, were 2.26 million. Nissan led the way in manufacturing, building more than half a million cars, beating that half million benchmark for the second year in a row.

Business Secretary, Vince Cable, welcomed the news, saying: "Today's figures are another sign that the British car industry is going from strength to strength – with one vehicle rolling off a production line somewhere in the UK every 20 seconds. Our success lies in the appetite from countries around the world for British cars. Around 80% of the 1.5 million cars we produced last year were exported; a testament to the diverse, high quality of British manufacturing."

Chief Executive of SMMT, Mike Hawes, also hailed the performance, saying: "2013 demonstrated the value of the UK's diverse car manufacturing industry, as surging home demand and robust exports outside Europe saw output grow 3.1% to over 1.5 million units. UK automotive investment announcements exceeded £2.5 billion in 2013, reinforcing industry analysts' suggestions that the UK could break all-time car output records within the next four years."

Some 80% of cars produced go for export, which is a shot in the arm for Britain's vital balance of payments figure. China is the biggest importer of British cars, with Russia next and the US third. Sadly, though, exports actually shrunk by around 1%. This, however, was entirely due to the parlous state of the EU economies, with exports to Europe suffering as a result. Those strong export figures outside the EU were boosted in no small part by Jaguar Land Rover, which came second in the production charts with 340,000 vehicles. Toyota had a great year and came third with 179,000 vehicles. Mini, Honda and Vauxhall, who all concentrate on the European market, actually saw production levels fall.

The UK is now set to become the third largest manufacturer of cars in Europe and it could beat the long standing 1972 record of 1.92 million cars by 2017.

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