Overseas demand drives 2016 boom in British carmaking

SMMTBritain built a car every 16 seconds in the first quarter of 2016 as increasing demand from overseas markets drove a 10.3% growth in UK car manufacturing.

Nearly 445,000 cars were built in Britain in the first three months of the year, with nearly 160,000 built in March alone – that’s a car every 16 seconds, says the SMMT.

And demand from abroad has gone up during 2016, with production for foreign markets up 14.3% in March alone. 3 in 4 cars built in Britain are now exported overseas.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “UK car plants were at their busiest for 12 years in March thanks to heightened international demand for British-built cars.

“Much will depend on economic and political conditions in key markets but, with several brand new global models starting production here in the first quarter alone, the prospects for future growth look bright.”

Particularly as UK car workers are productive ones: last year, each employee in car manufacturing generated almost £80,000 in value-added GDP per car produced – that’s more than twice the national average.

The one potential cloud is the possible threat from a vote for Brexit: more than half of that 75% of UK car production sent abroad goes to members of the EU…

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