Automotive manufacturing turnover last year was £55 billion - a 12 per cent increase on 2010, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says.
Combined car and commercial vehicle production last year reached 1.46 million which was a 5.1 per cent rise on the 2010 total.
The SMMT said independent forecasts suggested that by 2015 the number of cars produced could reach an all-time high of two million vehicles.
Vehicles made for export were up 14 per cent last year and represented 81.6 per cent of total output and were valued at more than £30 billion.
CO2 emissions from manufacturing were down by more than 13 per cent per vehicle produced last year.
The SMMT added that there was a 12 per cent rise last year in apprenticeships in the motor industry.
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: "The automotive industry is continuing to lead the country's economic recovery, increasing manufacturing output, delivering record turnover and exporting a greater proportion of cars than ever before, all while reducing our environmental footprint.
"In a tough economic climate, the automotive sector has continued to perform above expectations, demonstrating the significant role it has to play in a rebalanced economy."
He went on: "Our industry is at the forefront of the drive to a low-carbon economy attracting investment in the research, development and manufacture of low and ultra-low carbon technologies, creating new jobs and growth opportunities throughout the supply chain and introducing attractive products that are reducing transport emissions as well."