2014 Nissan Juke

The UK car industry has enjoyed its strongest start to the year since 2008 with output up 8% in January compared to the same time last year.

According to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 137,552 cars were produced in the month – the best January performance since sales dipped during the 2008 recession.

Much of this success to down to the increased foreign demand for British-built cars – indeed 2015 was a record year for exports.

Eight out of ten cars made in Britain are designed for export with the emerging car markets in China and Russia playing a big role in the increase in sales and car production now accounts for 11.8% of the total UK export.

This was demonstrated by a 9.7% increase in export production compared to January last year, growth for the sixth consecutive month. Production for the UK market also grew by 2.5%.

SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, said: “January’s figures mark an encouraging start to the year for the UK car industry, following an impressive 2015.

“We expect output to continue growing in the coming years as the industry benefits from continuing investment, but much will depend on global economic and political conditions and consumer confidence.”

Total car production for 2015 reached 1.6 million, the highest in a decade, and the SMMT is confident that it will soon overtake the record high figure of 1.92 million set in 1972.