UK's car production hit a record 10-year high in 2015, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) on 21 January. The organisation said that a rise in car exports, brought about by growing EU demand has contributed to the auto manufacturing industry experiencing an all-time high in production output.
The SMMT said that British car output rose by 3.9% in 2015, with a total of 1.59 million cars being manufactured within the country. In 2014, the industry body saw almost 4% growth in manufacturing, with almost 80% of all cars produced being shipped to other nations.
The organisation said that over three quarters of British manufactured cars are exported abroad. It has also noted an 11.3% rise in demand in the EU, UK's biggest export market. Commenting on the UK's automobile trade relations with the EU, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "Europe is our biggest trading partner and the UK's membership of the European Union is vital for the automotive sector in order to secure future growth and jobs."
The SMMT noted that while demand in the EU continued to grow in the past few years, Russia and China, two of Britain's key export markets, saw a marked decline with the shift in economy. Exports to Russia fell by 70% and China exports dropped to 37.5%.
Nissan said that its exports to Russia, which until 2014, was the car company's most vital export destination, was now virtually "impossible" to export to, according to a report by Reuters. Colin Lawther, Nissan's senior VP, responsible for manufacturing, supply chain management and purchasing in the EU said: "Russia used to be our biggest market and because of the currency effect we stopped shipping cars into Russia."
Nissan was eclipsed by the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) in car production, which saw a 9% increase in its automobile output in 2015. BMW and Toyota also saw some growth in production. UK manufacturers have also noted double digit growth in Australia, South Korea, Japan and Turkey, Sky News reported.
However, economic issues in Russia and China continue to pose a threat to the industry, severely affecting export rates. Hawes summed up the current economic climate accurately when he said: "Continued growth in an intensely competitive global marketplace is far from guaranteed, however, and depends heavily on global economic conditions and political stability."