UK car manufacturing hits 7-year high

<p>The UK produced over 1.5 million cars in the past year.</p>

Car production has hit a seven-year high, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturing and Traders (SMMT).

In the past 12 months over 1.5 million vehicles came off production lines at car manufacturing plants across the UK. The strongest December in ten years saw 108,721 cars produced, a 27.1 per cent increase on the same time a year earlier, and allowed an overall rise of 1.2 per cent compared to 2013's figure.

The SMMT explained that one of the key drivers for the UK's success has been the diversity in the cars produced. Plants made a range of volume, premium and specialist products to suit the demand from across the world. This change in attitude has led to an increase in demand from countries outside the European Union (EU).

China now represents the UK's second-largest market outside the EU with the Asian nation accounting for 12 per cent of exports in the past 12 months. It represent a significant rise since 2007 when Chinese money only represented one per cent of the UK's target markets.

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."

It has been a good year for specific brands in the UK with both Jaguar Land Rover and Rolls-Royce posting positive figures in the last 12 months. The latter announced earlier in the year that it had broken its sales record for the first time in its history during 2014.

The company stated that it had sold over 4,000 cars throughout the year, marking a 12 per cent increase on 2013. It was also the fifth consecutive year which Rolls-Royce had surpassed its previous record high.

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