Car production in the UK has hit a sever year high

Car production at record levels

The number of cars built in the UK reached a seven-year high of more than 1.5 million in 2014, with a new car rolling off a production line every 20 seconds.

A hugely successful year for the industry ended with the strongest December in a decade, with 108,000 cars produced last month.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said there was a 1.2 per cent increase in vehicle production in 2014 compared with the previous year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "Placed in context, a 1.2 per cent growth in UK car manufacturing in 2014 represents a very successful year.

"The industry has overcome various challenges, including slower than expected EU recovery and weakness in some global markets.

"More than £7bn of investment into UK production facilities has been announced in the past two years, and we are now seeing the effects as new models begin production – with more expected in 2015.”

According to SMMT UK car export has doubled over the past decade, owing largely to the diversification of products and combination of volume, premium and specialist brands.

"These production figures are testament to the strength of our automotive industry, and show that even in tough economic conditions it continues to be one of the driving forces behind our economic recovery,” said Business Secretary Vince Cable. “From Sunderland to Goodwood, Britain is turning out cars that are in demand all around the world.”

Almost four out of five new cars built in the UK in 2014 were exported, slightly down on the previous year, amid challenges in some export markets, said the SMMT.

Nissan's factory in Sunderland built the most cars last year (500,238), followed by Jaguar Land Rover's plants in Castle Bromwich, Halewood and Solihull (449,507), the Mini site at Cowley, Oxford (178,993), Toyota at Burnaston, Derby (172,215), Honda at Swindon (121,799) and Vauxhall at Ellesmere Port (77,836).

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