Currently reading: UK car manufacturing hits 17-year high - JLR and Nissan rank top
Car production rose 8.5% in 2016 to 1.7m units – the highest since 1999; Nissan's Qashqai and the Range Rover Sport among top exports

Car manufacturing in the UK set a 17-year record in 2016, and despite some industry uncertainty over Brexit, output is being tipped to keep rising and to reach an all-time high before 2020, according to the car industry mouthpiece, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Revealing the full year's figures, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said car production from 15 UK car manufacturers rose 8.5% to 1,722,698 units, the highest total since 1999. He described the industry as "in rude health" and predicted that the all-time record of 1.92 cars, set in 1972, would soon be beaten. Of the 2016 total, 1,354,216 cars (or about 80%) of production was exported, a total that beat last year's record, making car manufacture one of the country's largest and most dependable export earners. Over the past five years, average local content of locally made cars had risen from 36% to 41%, he revealed, another indicator of success.

Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan, who issued their 2016 figures in separate, similarly timed announcements, both played a major part in the UK's 2016 success. JLR held onto its position as the UK's biggest manufacturer, with an 8.0% production uplift to 544,401 cars, the rise driven by an updated line-up that included Jaguar's F-Pace SUV and the all-new Land Rover Discovery. NIssan's production at its mammoth Sunderland car-making complex was close behind at 507,430 units, and included new records for Qashqai and Leaf production.

Adding a note of caution, Mike Hawes pointed out that the bullish figures were the result of investment decisions "made three or four years ago", and not of a post-Brexit bounce as suggested in some media commentary. There were strong indications that car makers and suppliers were currently postponing non-critical investment decisions to see what happened, he said, which made clarity on future trading conditions vital.

"High-class engineering, advanced technology and a workforce committed to quality have helped turned our industry around," he said. "Today, the UK is one of the most productive places in Europe to make cars. We want trade deals, but they must be right and not rushed."

The SMMT figures showed that the UK's top-selling export model in 2016 was the Nissan Qashqai, with the Toyota Auris and Mini in second and third spots. Five of the top 10 were JLR models, the Range Rover Sport (5th), Range Rover Evoque (6th) and Land Rover Discovery Sport (7th). The Jaguar F-Pace and Jaguar XE filled 9th and 10th spots respectively.

Read more: Opinion: Success cannot obscure future challenges

Top 10 exported British cars:

1. Nissan Qashqai

2. Toyota Auris

3. Mini

4. Vauxhall Astra

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5. Range Rover Sport

6. Range Rover Evoque

7. Land Rover Discovery Sport

8. Honda Civic

9. Jaguar F-Pace

10. Jaguar XE

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TStag 26 January 2017

Just a thought but if the UK

Just a thought but if the UK can't agree a trade deal with the EU and both sides slap 10% duty on all cars imported into the U.K. Or EU why would any large car maker make cars in Britain? Surely you would move everything to Eastern Europe and like every other car maker simply leave the U.K. Consumer to pay 10% on any car they buy.... Manu of us tend to assume a deal on autos will happen but will it?
k12479 26 January 2017

TStag wrote:

TStag wrote:

Just a thought but if the UK can't agree a trade deal with the EU and both sides slap 10% duty on all cars imported into the U.K. Or EU why would any large car maker make cars in Britain? Surely you would move everything to Eastern Europe and like every other car maker simply leave the U.K. Consumer to pay 10% on any car they buy.... Manu of us tend to assume a deal on autos will happen but will it?

Tariffs can be asymmetrical - if the EU imposes max allowable under WHO most favoured nation status, the UK doesn't have to follow suit for the benefit of its consumers. If trade is constrained by tariffs on exports and imports, the £ is likely to fall, counteracting the impact of tariffs on exports. Moving production is not quick, cheap or easy, bear in mind that the UK is the most important EU market for most of the manufacturers based here (i.e. Japanese) and that is likely to be undermined due to the currency/tariff situation of moving, for others 'Made in the UK' is a key USP (Aston, Bentley, RR). Also, it may have been usurped in headlines recently but the future of the Euro itself is far from resolved (although Trump's EU ambassador has mentioned it), shifting production wholesale will involve jumping from one uncertainty into another uncertainty.

RayCee 27 January 2017

TStag wrote:

TStag wrote:

Just a thought but if the UK can't agree a trade deal with the EU and both sides slap 10% duty on all cars imported into the U.K. Or EU why would any large car maker make cars in Britain?

Britain imports far more cars from the EU than the other way around, so they have as as least much to lose.
A 10% duty will not have car manufacturing leaving the UK nor send prices sky high. Most will absorb the 10% as they do with currency fluctuations, or pass just a part of it on.

Car makers like to pressure governments to get financial concessions. The media write a load of hysterical rubbish to get you reading their articles. Those with anti Brexit sentiments want to scaremonger people. The SMMT is anything but objective on the subject so take their press releases with a grain of salt.

Productivity is high in UK car plants. Britain is a great place to build cars and will continue to be so.

bowsersheepdog 27 January 2017

RayCee wrote:

RayCee wrote:
TStag wrote:

Just a thought but if the UK can't agree a trade deal with the EU and both sides slap 10% duty on all cars imported into the U.K. Or EU why would any large car maker make cars in Britain?

Britain imports far more cars from the EU than the other way around, so they have as as least much to lose.
A 10% duty will not have car manufacturing leaving the UK nor send prices sky high. Most will absorb the 10% as they do with currency fluctuations, or pass just a part of it on.

Car makers like to pressure governments to get financial concessions. The media write a load of hysterical rubbish to get you reading their articles. Those with anti Brexit sentiments want to scaremonger people. The SMMT is anything but objective on the subject so take their press releases with a grain of salt.

Productivity is high in UK car plants. Britain is a great place to build cars and will continue to be so.

There aren't going to be any tariffs. The UK is Germany's biggest export market, not just for cars but in lots of fields. No other country appreciates the German reputation for quality and reliability so much as we do. Think of Bosch, Siemens, Neff, Bayer, Adidas, Staedtler, BASF, Continental. Everything form pencils to trainers to power tools, to kitchen appliances, to pharmaceuticals, we lap it up.

The German manufacturing industry will tell Merkel, "no tariffs to UK trade", she'll tell the EU, and when Germany tells the other twenty-six nations this is how it's going to be, they do as they're told. Especially since Germany is paying for half of them to keep their heads above water. The Germans cannot afford for us switch to buying all that stuff from Japan, or China, or Korea, or America. They'd all love to sell it to us, and if the high price of buying German got too high that's what would happen, so no tariffs will ever be imposed.

Ski Kid 26 January 2017

JLR need to add another Disco

A cheaper more simple version with the back door opening like the freelander 1 and first Discos,very useful with the powered rear window down to take long items in.I liked the look with thwe spare wheel on the back hinged door,more space in the boot and looked good too.Perhaps this may be what is planned as part of the defender range.anyone know ?
TStag 26 January 2017

If JLR launch the Mid sized

If JLR launch the Mid sized Range Rover and Jaguar E Pace alongside the new Discovery in the next 6 months then in 18 months time volumes might increase by another 200,000 units per Annum at JLR I'd guess.

Ignoring for a moment that some production will also go to Slovakia JLR also plan to build out the I-Pace, new Evoque, Defender range and may add another Disco. So I can easily see JLR hitting a million units a year by about the end of the decade.

Not bad for a company that the government refused financial help only a few years ago during the downturn..... maby the Government can consider that as part of their 'industrial strategy'

DBtechnician 26 January 2017

What strategy ?

The only strategy this government has with regard to manufacturing in this country is to turn this country into a holiday destination with little more than a service sector workforce on low wages, how else are they going to shoehorn this nation into a small part of a European Superstate other than to undermine our manufacturing capability to further our dependance and military integration into European defence force.
Ski Kid 26 January 2017

Certainly would have proven a better bet than the Governments

Investment in the banks has been a disaster so far from a financial investment point of view ,basically only grace is the confidence to the system ,if you dare call it that.