UK car industry turnover at record high of £69.5 bn

The UK car industry's turnover touched a record £69.5 billion in 2014 with the average worker generating £440,000, the latest report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed.

Vehicle production stood at its highest since 2008 with the industry on track to produce 1.95 million vehicles over the next two years, as demand increased for UK-built cars more than ever.

That was underscored by the total export value for UK car manufacturing increasing 1.8 per cent to £34.6 billion, a massive 103.8 per cent increase since 2000, adding up to a significant  hike in the industry's direct contribution to the UK economy, rising to £15.5 billion last year.

Jobs too were up with 27,000 roles added in 2014 which took the total industry workforce to 799,000.

Investment in skills had also been crucial with employee training up by over a third and around 500 new apprentices and trainees taken on by the sector last year.

The SMMT figures which featured in its 16th annual Sustainability Report, also showed workers were more efficient, too, with one new vehicle rolling off a UK production line every 20 seconds.

An average of 11.5 vehicles were produced for each person the industry employed in the years up to 2014 as against 9.3 vehicles from 2005 to 2009.

The UK would soon be making around four cars a minute as its motor industry boomed. According to SMMT projections, the number of new vehicles being built in the UK would rise to almost 2 million by 2017, on the basis of current trends.

Last year saw car production alone rise to 1.53 million units, the highest level since 2007 – with an increasing number of vehicles built for the domestic new car market, which itself was up 9.3 per cent to reach 2.48 million registrations last year.

Employment in automotive manufacturing and retail was up by 27,000 last year, said the SMMT.

It added, more efficient, high-tech manufacturing processes had led to huge gains in productivity.

The value of exports rose 1.8 per cent to £34.6 billion last year, with international demand for UK-made vehicles continuing to grow. It was up 103.8 per cent since 2000, as the industry's largest contribution to the UK economy rose 6.2 per cent in 2014, rising to £15.5 billion.

Mike Hawes, the SMMT's chief executive, said, ''The UK automotive industry is delivering growth in volumes, turnover and employment, while reducing its environmental impact.''