Car production in the UK remains on course to hit an all-time record by 2020, after official figures revealed 10.3% more cars were made in the first three months of 2016 compared to last year.
In total, 443,581 cars were produced until the end of March, equating to around one UK-built car being manufactured every 16 seconds. Home market demand for UK cars was up 8% and exports rose 11.1%.
That rate of growth is expected to be maintained in 2016 and beyond, providing no major outside factors impact on growth, setting the UK car manufacturing industry on course to eclipse the 1.92m vehicles made in 1972. Last year, 1,587,667 cars were built in the UK.
However, if UK manufacturing is to eclipse the 1972 figure, Hawes warned that the manufacturing sector and supply chain would have to attract up to 38,000 new employees - 27,000 of them in the supply network - to be able to meet demand.
Today, 160,000 people work in car manufacturing out of around 799,000 in the car industry, across 30 manufacturers building more than 70 models of car.
“Already the Automotive Council has identified a shortfall of 5000 gaps in the industry, and that gap is set to grow unless we can address the areas where we need the skills,” said SMMT president Mike Hawes.
“We need to attract talent to the industry and that is something the car makers, the government and we are focusing on.”
In particular, there is a renewed focus on apprenticeships, something the car industry has a long track record in providing successfully.