The UK automotive industry continued its growth last year with figures released revealing record turnover.
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According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 2014 turnover reached an all-time high of £69.5bn with manufacturing output also growing, with almost 1.6m vehicles built in 2014.
Last year, car production alone grew to 1.53m units – the highest level since 2007 – with an increasing number of vehicles built for the domestic new car market, which itself grew 9.3% to reach 2.48m registrations last year.
According to SMMT, on current trends, UK car output is expected to reach an all-time record level of 1.95m vehicles in the next two years.
Meanwhile, investment in more efficient, high-tech manufacturing processes has led to huge gains in productivity. In each of the five years to 2014, an average of 11.5 vehicles were produced for every person employed in the industry, compared with 9.3 vehicles for the period from 2005 to 2009.
The number of people employed in automotive (including manufacturing and retail) now stands at 799,000, with the average worker responsible for generating £440,000 in turnover for the sector. Investment in skills has also been crucial with employee training up by more than a third (35.2%) and some 500 new apprentices and trainees taken on by the sector last year.
International demand for British-made vehicles also continues to increase with total export value rising 1.8% to £34.6 billion – a 103.8% uplift since 2000 - increasing the industry’s direct contribution to the British economy, rising 6.2% to £15.5bn last year.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The UK automotive industry can be proud of its achievements as it continues to set new standards. The sector is delivering growth in volumes, turnover and employment, while reducing its environmental impact. Continuing to expand in a fiercely competitive global market is a major challenge and will depend on a supportive economic and regulatory environment which promotes investment to foster innovation and continuing productivity improvements.”