More than 1.5 million cars were built in the UK in 2013, keeping the nation's car manufacturing industry on course to reach record-breaking levels of output by 2017.
Figures produced by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) indicate that car production rose by 3.1 per cent in 2013. A total of 1,509,762 cars were built, compared to 1,464,906 in the whole of 2012.
That's the highest volume recorded since 2007, and if the rate of growth continues, industry analysts predict that output will hit record levels of around two million units within four years.
The figures take into account large volume production by car companies in Britain – Nissan, Land Rover, Toyota, Mini, Honda, Jaguar and Vauxhall – as well as manufacturers with smaller outputs such as Aston Martin and Lotus.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: "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 per cent 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."
The output of cars destined to remain in the home market increased by 21.8 per cent to 308,367 vehicles, but exports remained the backbone of the flourishing UK car manufacturing industry.
Even though the total number of cars produced for export fell by 0.9 per cent in 2013 compared to the previous year, a total of 1,201,395 units were built on these shores but destined for foreign markets.
While the European market has struggled with tough economic conditions, overall export volumes have been bolstered by strong growth in demand for UK-built cars in other locations.
China’s share of exports has grown rapidly over recent years, and the country now looks set to become the largest non-EU market for UK-built cars. The United States and Russia are also key export destinations.
"Our success lies in the appetite from countries around the world for British cars. Around 80 per cent of the 1.5 million cars we produced last year were exported – a testament to the diverse, high quality of British manufacturing," said the UK's business secretary, Vince Cable.