The UK automotive industry turned over a record £69.5 billion in 2014, figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have revealed.
The SMMT’s annual Sustainability Report revealed that turnover in the UK industry had jumped 6.6%, meaning that the average UK worker is generating £440,000. This was driven by increased manufacturing output and growth in vehicle sales and exports.
More than 1.6 million vehicles were built in the UK in 2014, including 1.53m cars, the highest level since 2007. More of these were also sold in the UK, with 2.48m cars registered in the UK. The value of cars made in Britain and exported rose 1.8% to £34.6bn - a rise of 103.8% since 2000.
"While recognising that the industry has traditionally been cyclical, it's clear that we are on a high," said SMMT chairman Mike Hawes. "The new Government has set targets on productivity, innovation and trade and export, and these are all areas that the automotive industry excels. We have enjoyed 39 consecutive months of sales growth in the UK. Europe has been on the up for more than a year. There is a lot of good news, and within that some challenges, the biggest of which is getting enough people in to engineering to sustain the growth, but also the EU and Russian situations. Still, we look forwrad with confidence."
The SMMT report also highlights strides in production techniques: from 2005-2009 an average of 9.3 vehicles were produced for every person working in the UK automotive industry, but from 2009-2014 the figure is 11.9 vehicles. An additional 27,000 automotive jobs were created in the UK in 2014, up 3.5% to 799,000.
If global car sales continue to rise at the current levels, UK production is tipped to hit an all-time high of 1.95m vehicles within two years. However, some car company bosses have expressed concerns that a dipping Russian market could lead to widespread problems in the car industry as soon as the end of this year.
The report also highlighted that the environmental impact of the industry has fallen, despite the greater volumes involved. Total waste going to landfill from all automotive production fell by 26.3% in 2014, marking a total fall since 2000 of 92.3%. Water and energy use by the industry also fell.
The average CO2 emissions per vehicle produced also hit a new low, 5% down on the 2013 figure.
Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below: