Car exports are at an almost all-time high with 1.112 million cars being exported in 2012 with an export growth of 20% in 2010 and 2011. 74% of cars and commercial vehicles manufactured in the UK last year were exported.
The reason for this fantastic growth? The depreciated exchange rate has played a part, but the carmakers are targeting the right markets. 60% of what we export still goes to mainland Europe, however Britain’s heritage and luxury brands, such as Mini, Bentley and Jaguar Land Rover are seeing strong sales growth in the emerging markets such as China and Brazil. These countries are far removed from the economic downturn which is gripping Europe.
Mini in particular is a huge success story; 80% of the Minis made are exported to 70 countries around the world. Bentley also announced that in 2011, they sold more cars to China than within the UK.
The automotive sector accounts for 10% of Britain’s exports and is therefore a key driver of UK economic growth with vehicles now established as the UK’s number one manufactured export.
So what does this mean for the UK? Firstly, 700,000 people are employed in the automotive industry and with several of the big brands investing in UK manufacturing plants, the number of jobs created within the automotive sector will continue to increase.
And it’s not just UK car companies that are choosing to manufacture their cars here. Toyota, Nissan and Honda already have some of their largest European plants in Britain and are looking to expand their operations. Honda will be creating 500 jobs at its Swindon plant and Toyota is adding up to 1,5000 jobs at their Derbyshire plant.
Also benefiting from this surge in automotive exports are all the suppliers to these big brands, whether they are parts manufacturers, communications agencies managing international marketing campaigns, event management companies organising dealer events or customer incentive days or translation agencies providing translation services to help these car companies take their products abroad.
So let’s hope the UK car industry can stay in pole position and win the race.