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Nissan Qashqai

Booming UK car production hits 14-year high in August

Nissan QashqaiA boost in car exports of more than 10% in August 2016 has seen UK car production reach its highest total for the month since back in 2002, the SMMT has today revealed.

Almost 111,000 cars were built in Britain during August 2016, growth of 9.1% over the previous year and further strengthening the British car industry’s rolling yearly output growth of 12%.

The lack of a post-Brexit recession has helped home demand hold up, with production for British customers up 6.2%. It’s the rise in exports of 10.2% that really helped grow UK car production during August, though – continuing a trend seen throughout the year, which is up more than 13%.

Year to date, 877,523 cars have been built in Britain and exported to other nations.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “August’s strong performance is good news for car makers and welcome news for the UK economy, which depends on this thriving sector for an increasing share of UK exports.

“British car producers are exporting a diverse range of high quality, attractive new models that are in demand across the world thanks to multi billion pound investments made in UK plants over the past few years.”

Hawes did sound a Brexit-themed warning, though. “Future success depends on continued investment in plant and products and that in turn depends on the UK maintaining internationally competitive business and trading conditions.” Politicians, he could have added, take note…

The growth of the British car industry over the past decade or so has been striking – and it comes after a nadir was reached in the mid-2000s following years of gradual decline.

Back in 2002, MG Rover was still a big British car manufacturer; its collapse in 2005 hit UK car production hard. But foreign investment has seen the industry recover since then and today’s figures for August 2016 are latest evidence of its continued growth.

UK automotive car manufacturing June 2016

UK car production in 16-year high but Brexit means future uncertain

UK automotive car manufacturing June 2016Car production in the UK rose more than 10% in June 2016, to 158,641 vehicles, helping make the first six months of 2016 a 16-year high.

But the SMMT has warned that, with Britain’s post-Brexit future position in Europe still far from clear, the future may not be so rosy.

Indeed, a survey by the trade organisation shows 57% of members believe Brexit will be a bad thing for their business; just 8.3% say it will be positive.

More than 3 in 4 cars built in the UK are exported and the majority go to Europe; what’s more, nearly 60% of parts fitted to UK-built cars are imported from Europe.

Uncertainty over trade deals between the UK and EU are thus a huge headache for automotive business leaders.

Built in Britain, sent overseas

UK automotive car manufacturing June 2016

The production figures show that although UK-market demand was up 7.1%, demand from export markets, predominately the EU, swelled 14.9% – 695,139 of the 897,157 cars built in Britain in 2016 were exported.

“The latest increase in production output is the result of investment decisions made over a number of years, well before the referendum was even a prospect,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

“These decisions were based on many factors but, primarily, on tariff-free access to the single market, economic stability and record levels of productivity from a highly skilled workforce.

“To ensure the sector’s continued growth, and with it the thousands of jobs it supports, these must be priorities in future negotiations.”

Brexit concerns from UK automotive business leaders include:

  • 68.4%: Tariffs or other barriers between the UK and EU
  • 66.4%: Losing access to EU trade deals
  • 66.1%: Being bound by EU regulations in which they have no say
  • 59.7%: Uncertainty over EU workers in the UK
  • 63.6%: Losing access to EU skills market
  • 52.7%: Drop in sales
  • 46.1%: Fall in investment

The SMMT adds that, of its members surveyed, a quarter are still unsure about what impact the European Referendum results will have on their business. For them, it’s too early to say – meaning the developments in post-Brexit Britain in coming months will be significant.

Lamborghini Aventador LP-750-4 Superveloce

How many cars did Lamborghini sell in 2015? A record-breaking number

Lamborghini Aventador LP-750-4 Superveloce

Lamborghini sold 3,000 cars for the first time in 2015, according to official figures: that’s the fifth straight year of growth that is making the company profitable enough to finance all new projects out of free cashflow.

The turnaround plan is gathering pace…

Turnover rose nearly 40% in full year 2015, from €629 million to €872 million, a figure that’s tripled over the past decade, on the back of a doubling in model sales.

Each Lamborghini sold is thus richer and more profitable than ever.

Total 2015 sales rose 28% from 2,530 cars to 3,248 vehicles: 2,245 V10 Huracan and 1,003 V12 Aventador were sold. While selling more than 1,000 high-end super-sportscars is no mean feat in itself, it’s the arrival of the Huracan that’s driving Lamborghini’s growth.

Indeed, in the first 18 months since launch, Lamborghini’s sold 70% more Huracan than it did Gallardo in the same timeframe.

Lamborghini’s biggest global markets are North America and China, followed by Japan, the UK, the Middle East and Germany. Models are sold in three main regions – Europe and the Middle East, North America and Asia. Nearly every global market grew in 2015.

Lamborghini launched five new models or variants in 2015, and also decided to start building a new production facility at its Sant’Agata Bolognese HQ that will almost double production space.

Why? To build its third model series, the Urus, a plan that finally got the green light in 2015. Remember, this is being financed out of Lamborghini profits and, on today’s evidence, will likely double the brand’s volumes to yet higher record-breaking levels.

No wonder president and CEO Stephan Winkelmann is so pleased. “2016 sees us in a better situation that ever before.” But Lambo fans shouldn’t get too carried away, he added.

“This success is a reason to celebrate, but even more it represents a responsibility to qualitatively continue this growth.” Growth, absolutely. Just make sure it’s the right sort of growth.

A collection of British-built cars

British car production breaks records in 2015

A collection of British-built carsMore than 1.2 million cars were exported from British car factories in 2015, setting a new all-time record – an achievement the SMMT’s chief executive Mike Hawes described as a deserved and hard fought for result.

The UK production total of 1,587677 vehicles in 2015 is also a 10-year high, rising 3.9% in a year and putting British factories on track to break the record of most cars ever built within a few years.

That’s a record that’s stood since the early 1970s.

Over 3 in 4 cars built here were exported, reports the SMMT in its analysis of 2015 results, most of which went to Europe: the EU accounts for 57.5% of all UK car exports. And these export results has delighted Chancellor George Osborne.

“Today we see the industry going from strength to strength.

“I am hugely encouraged that manufacturing is at a 10-year high and exports ‎are at a record level. All this means jobs and the security of a pay packet for workers and their families.”

The challenge now, he added, is to ensure Britain remains a “global leader in car production”.

No guarantees

It wasn’t all good news though. Weaknesses in China mean demand there fell 37.5%, which will be worrying to the UK’s premium car manufactures who were sending growing numbers of high-value cars there.

Russia was also down 69.4%, reflecting economic troubles. Hawes reflected this but added that “despite export challenges in some key markets such as Russia and China, foreign demand for British-built cars has been strong.

“Continued growth in an intensely competitive global marketplace is far from guaranteed, however, and depends heavily on global economic conditions and political stability.”

This year’s EU referendum is also a potential obstacle – and the SMMT made it clear which was the best choice for the UK car industry.

“Europe is our biggest trading partner and the UK’s membership of the European Union is vital for the automotive sector in order to secure future growth and jobs.”

Top 10 markets for British built cars

  1. EU: 57.5%
  2. US: 10.9%
  3. China: 7.0%
  4. Turkey: 2.8%
  5. Australia: 2.8%
  6. Russia: 2.0%
  7. Japan: 1.8%
  8. South Korea: 1.7%
  9. Canada: 1.2%
  10. Israel: 1.2%
Infiniti Q30

Infiniti car production begins in Britain

Infiniti Q30Infiniti has officially opened its first ever European production facility with the launch Q30 today leaving the assembly line in Sunderland – bringing £250 million new investment and 300 new jobs to Britain.

It’s yet another boost to Nissan’s booming Sunderland factory, which now employs a total of 6,700 people to produce the Q30 compact premium car from the same base as the Nissan Qashqai, Juke and Note.

British Q30 production means Infinitis are now made in five plants, in four countries, on three continents. The UK plant comes online as 2015 sales already exceed 2014 levels – and the Q30 is the next step in Infiniti’s long-awaited arrival as a viable premium alternative to Audi and BMW in Europe.

Nissan chief performance officer Trevor Mann has worked at Sunderland since it opened in 1985 and says the Q30’s arrival begins “an exciting new chapter in the Infiniti story, and I can’t think of a better place to start than here”.

The Q30 will now be exported from Britain to Europe, China and America; Infiniti estimates 1,000 extra jobs in the supply chain, on top of the 300 jobs directly at Sunderland.

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Land Rover Discovery Sport production line

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Honda Swindon Plant

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