Nissan SunderlandMore than 1.5 million cars were built in Britain during 2014, making it the best year for UK car production since 2007.

A total of 1,528,148 cars were made in 2014, which is a 1.2 per cent increase on 2013. More significantly, December 2014 saw 108,721 cars built – up 27.1 per cent on 2014.

The big boost in December comes as new facilities come on stream; Land Rover is building the new Discovery Sport and MINI’s Oxford facility is also running at full speed now the new Hatch changeover is complete.

It means a UK-built car is rolling off the production lines every 20 seconds.

Business Secretary Vince Cable praised the UK industry figures. “These production figures are testament to the strength of our automotive industry, and show that even in touch economic conditions it continues to be one of the driving forces behind our economic recovery

“From Sunderland to Goodwood, Britain is turning out cars that are in demand all around the world.”

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Placed in content, a 1.2 per cent growth in UK car manufacturing in 2014 represents a very successful year. The industry has overcome various challenges, including slower than expected EU recovery and weakness in some global markets.

“More than £7 billion of investment into UK production facilities has been announced in the past two years, and we are now seeing the effects as new models begin production – with more expected in 2015.”

Models set to come on stream in 2015 include the all-new Jaguar XE (built at a brand new factory in Solihull) and Vauxhall’s critically important all-new Astra.

It’s good news for UK PLC, added Hawes – UK car export values have doubled from 2005 to 2014 (although export volumes were actually down for the second year running, due to continued weaknesses in the Eurozone).

Nissan leads the way

Nissan was Britain’s biggest car manufacturer in 2014, with Sunderland building 500,238 cars. This was, however, a small 0.3 per cent decline on 2013.

Jaguar Land Rover saw yet another big increase with 449,507 cars built – 7.3 per cent up on 2013. MINI was next, with 178,993 cars built at Plant Oxford, slightly ahead of Toyota’s Auris and Avensis facility on Derby: it made 172,215 cars.

Hondas suffered a worrying 12.3 per cent decline at Swindon, down to 121,799 cars as it consolidated two production lines into one. The facelifted CR-V and Civic are critically important new cars for the facility.

Despite effectively being in runout, Ellesmere Port built 5.9 per cent more Vauxhall Astras, up to 77,836, while Britain’s booming specialist car industry rocketed 21.8 per cent by building 27,560 cars.