Last year, Britain's automotive industry turned over a record-breaking £69.5 billion, according to new data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The sector saw an increase of 6.6 per cent compared to 2013 and the turnover was also 65.1 per cent higher than in 2000. The SMMT says the numbers illustrate the health of the UK's car and commercial vehicle manufacturers, as well as the supply chains of businesses that feed them.
Employment in the automotive industry is also growing, the trade association says. The vehicle manufacturers and parts producers currently support almost 800,000 jobs – a 3.5 per cent growth over the year.
However, this number is down 11.9 per cent compared to 2000, when 907,000 people were employed in the industry. This is because the manufacturing process has evolved over the years to become more efficient and less labour intensive.
Investment in manufacturing
Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Vauxhall all made major investments last year, bringing total investment in the sector to £4.7 billion. These improvements also enhanced productivity, with a new vehicle being rolled of a production line every 20 seconds.
In addition, investment in new facilities, such as robots, reached £4.7 billion.
SMMT calculates that productivity has risen from an average of 9.3 vehicles built per worker fiver years ago to a current rate of 11.5 vehicles. This means the average worker generates £440,000 in turnover – these figures are based on the 158,000 people directly employed in vehicle manufacturing.
Commenting on the report's findings, chief executive of the SMMT Mike Hawes said that the UK should be proud of its achievements. However, he also warned that the international market was becoming increasingly competitive.
He explained that the new government is supportive of the automotive sector and, in meetings with business minister Sajid Javid, he had indicated the sector's targets of increasing productivity, innovation and exports aligned with the Conservative party's own priorities.
"You can never underestimate the power of politicians going out to bat for the country in a competitive global market. Other countries are very keen to attract manufacturers," Mr Hawes said.
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