MINI Plant OxfordThe UK automotive industry created 44,000 new jobs in 2013 alone, taking the total employed up to more than three quarters of a million

Such growth in numbers is reflected in domestic turnover growth of the sector itself: this was up 10.5% last year, making it a £64.1 billion British industry. An eye-watering £12 billion of this is added value for the UK economy.

In short, the British car industry is booming – helping Britain itself to recover and grow.

Disproving the myth that Britain doesn’t build cars anymore, UK automotive accounts for a full 10% of total UK export of goods, fully justifying SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes’ claim that “the UK automotive industry contributes hugely to the country’s economic health.

UK automotive progress ‘hugely important’

 “The progress made by the industry over the past year alone is hugely important. Growing our skills base and encouraging more automotive suppliers to base their businesses in the UK is now essential for us to maintain this positive momentum.”

The numbers were revealed in the 15th annual Automotive Sustainability Report published by the SMMT. It showed that 14,000 of the 44,000 new jobs created last year were in automotive manufacturing between the 30 manufacturers based here: more than 160,000 British people now work in vehicle production.

They’re an environmentally conscious lot, though: energy use per vehicle they build has fallen 26% in 15 years, and waste sent to landfill has hit an all-time low after a 33% reduction last year lone.

Incredibly, just 3.5kg of waste per car built is sent to landfill. This is more than 90% down on 1999.

UK automotive: challenges ahead, but welcome ones

There are challenges ahead though, warned the SMMT. By 2017, Britain could be building more than two million cars a year, breaking a record that’s been in place for four decades. It will only achieve this if it can keep up the current rate of growth – and that means even more pressure for recruiting and training staff.

Other challenges come with the forecast growth, added the trade association. “Supplier capacity can be called into question, so re-shoring more component providers is a vital aspect highlighted in the latest report.”

<ore than 2500 component providers supply parts to UK-based automotive manufacturers: the Sustainability Report stresses the key part they will play in the future and offers suggestions on how their industry can be best supported.

Even so, while finding the right staff and supporting the suppliers is challenging, it’s still a very welcome problem to have…