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The country is enjoying an export surge, largely attributable to higher manufacturing volumes and the shift toward building higher-quality models that’s doubled the average wholesale value of a car from £10,200 to £20,640 over the past decade.
U.K. car manufacturers on course to pass 2 million mark by 2017.
U.K. vehicle manufacturers generated export earnings of more than £47,000 ($78,916) a minute last year, as car export values doubled from £12 billion ($20.1 billion) in 2004 to £24.8 billion ($41.6 billion) in 2013.
Releasing the data at its automotive industry summit in London, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says the growth was driven by diversification of U.K. car manufacturing and increasing global demand.
SMMT CEO Mike Hawes says alongside rising manufacturing volumes, the income surge largely is attributable to the shift toward building higher-quality models across the country, doubling the average export wholesale value of a car from £10,200 ($17,126) to £20,640 ($34,621).
“Countries around the world are spending twice what they were 10 years ago on U.K.-built cars,” Hawes says in a statement. “This reflects the thriving nature of our domestic industry and our global reputation for engineering expertise.”
Hawes says the U.K. industry is enjoying healthy demand from both growing and established markets.
“We want this success to continue, but urgently need more young people to join our industry, working in every area from design and engineering to manufacturing and retail,” he says.
U.K. car manufacturers built more than 1.5 million vehicles last year and are on course to break all-time records by passing the 2 million mark by 2017. About 80% of the vehicles are exported, half of them destined for the rest of the European Union.
Hawes says exports to wider global markets have increased markedly over the past decade, helped by growing worldwide demand for premium vehicles and the significant investments committed to the U.K. by global manufacturers.
The country has been quick to react to global car-buying trends, he says, and the booming demand for premium vehicles worldwide has led to a shift in the manufacturing landscape.
In volume terms, 28.9% of the U.K.’s exports were made up of premium and specialist brands in 2004. Now the share is 42.4%.
The SMMT says this pattern also is evident in the number of models built for each category, with premium vehicles moving from the minority in 2004 to account for almost 60% of the U.K. model count last year.