A celebration of Britain's resurgent car making industry saw ten new cars put on display ahead of their appearance at a major motor show in Germany.
The automotive sector now accounts for its largest-ever share of the UK's total exports at 11.8 per cent, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). More than £2bn of investment and 4,500 new jobs have been announced by the automotive industry so far this year.
Cars ranging from high-volume family hatchbacks, such as the Vauxhall Astra, to luxury models, such as the Aston Martin Rapide, were brought together for a photoshoot on the south bank of the River Thames yesterday, ahead of their delivery to the Frankfurt International Motor Show next week.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The automotive industry is a UK success story with government and industry working closely to boost productivity and growth. Not only do we build cars extremely well, but our research and development and design capabilities are equally as impressive. Together we are shaping a 21st-century sector that is going from strength to strength.”
The UK automotive sector now supports almost 800,000 jobs, including roughly 160,000 in manufacturing, and the first six months of this year saw more cars produced here than in any half-year since 2008, with a vehicle rolling off an assembly line every 20 seconds.
Overall car exports to more than 100 countries were worth £24.6bn in 2014 and demand across Europe – Britain's biggest export market – grew more than 10 per cent last year, according to the SMMT.
This growth has contributed to more than £1bn of extra business to UK-based supply chain manufacturers, the SMMT said, as UK vehicle manufacturers spent 19 per cent more on domestically manufactured components in 2014 compared with the previous year.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The UK automotive industry’s resurgence continues and this diverse range of British-built cars which will premiere in Frankfurt clearly demonstrates the strength of UK automotive.
"From Goodwood to Sunderland, Llanelli to Falkirk, the automotive industry supports some 800,000 highly skilled jobs making world class products of which Britain can be justifiably proud.”