2013 Automotive Sustainability Report – The 14th edition – 2012 data

SMMT’s 14th Sustainability Report highlights the significant progress achieved across the sector in 2012, as industry continues to improve resource efficiency, boost output, invest in people and lead the decarbonisation of road transport.

What is sustainability?

Sustainability is achieving the right balance of economic progress, environmental care and social responsibility.

Another widely-cited definition from the 1987 Brundtland Report states, “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.


In Summary

Economic Performance
  • Automotive manufacturing sector turnover increased 2.8% to £59.3 billion in 2012.
  • Expenditure on automotive business R&D increased 9.2% to £1.7 billion in 2012.
  • 1.6 million cars and CVs were produced in the UK in 2012 – up 7.7%.
  • 2.2 million new cars and CVs were registered in 2012, an increase of 1.7%.


Environmental performance

  • Energy use in automotive production decreased – down 7.6% in total and 4.8% per vehicle produced.
  • Total water use in production increased 5.2% in 2012, but fell 2.1% per vehicle produced.
  • Output of CO2 decreased 11.2% in total and 3.2% per vehicle produced.
  • The amount of waste going to landfill from materials production dropped 21.1% in total, 16.7% per vehicle produced.
  • Average new car emissions dropped 3.6% in 2012 to 133.1 g/km CO2.


Social performance

  • 731,000 jobs were dependent on the UK automotive sector in 2012.
  • Jobs in automotive manufacturing rose 2% to 146,000.

Signatories to this report and brands represented

Alexander Dennis Alexander Dennis
Bentley Motors Limited Bentley
BMW Group including Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce
Caterpillar Caterpillar, Perkins
Ford Motor Company Limited Ford
General Motors UK Limited Vauxhall, Chevrolet
GKN Driveline Limited GKN
Honda of the UK Manufacturing Limited Honda
IBC Vehicles Limited Vauxhall, Renault, Nissan Commercial Vehicles
Jaguar Land Rover Ltd Jaguar Land Rover
Leyland Trucks DAF Trucks
Mercedes-Benz UK Limited Mercedes-Benz, smart
Michelin Tyre plc Michelin
Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited and Nissan Technology Centre Group Nissan, Infiniti
PSA Peugeot Citroen Automobiles UK Limited Peugeot, Citroen
Toyota (GB) plc and Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited Toyota, Lexus
Unipart Group of Companies Unipart
Volkswagen Group (UK) Limited Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles
Volvo Cars UK Limited Volvo

By providing information for the SMMT Automotive Sustainability Report each signatory makes a number of commitments, click here for more detail.

Click through to view all case studies provided by signatories.



Click here to download the full 2013 Sustainability Report.

Download previous editions of the Sustainability Report

Download data sets from 1999-2013

Economic performance



  • UK automotive sector recorded positive growth and increased vehicle manufacturing, helping to boost turnover despite subdued Europe.
  • Vehicle and engine production are recovering robustly but are not yet at pre-recession levels. Further growth is anticipated.
  • Global manufacturers have invested billions of pounds in UK automotive through facility expansion, new model programmes and R&D.


UK automotive manufacturing

  • Automotive manufacturing sector turnover increased 2.8% to £59.3 billion – the highest ever recorded and 10% than pre-recession 2007.
  • Vehicle production rose for a third successive year in the UK. It was the only country of the top five producing EU27 countries to record an increase in 2012.
  • Manufacturing climbed almost 8% with a 15.5% rise in home market output and 7.7% in export volumes due to growing demand in China, Russia and the US.
  • CV production continues to struggle against economic conditions in UK and Europe, falling 6.8%.




Engine manufacturing

  • The UK produced 2.5 million engines in 2012, 0.3% below 2011 levels but still 20% above 2009 volumes.
  • 70% of UK built engines were exported. Ford is the largest engine supplier in the UK, producing 60% of volumes.


New vehicle registrations

  • Car registrations rose 5.3% in 2012 to 2.045 million units.
  • LCV registrations fell 7.9% and were down 29% on 2007 levels.
  • Bus and Coach increased by 12.4% thanks to government incentives and increased demand due to the London 2012 games.


Future visions

  • £1.6 billion will be invested by government in the next 10 years to industry sectors including automotive to develop strategic partnerships.
  • SMMT hopes to see a commitment to the creation of a joint government-industry funded Advanced Propulsion Centre to ensure science and innovation funding reflects key UK industrial strengths.

Click here to download the full 2013 Sustainability Report.

Environmental performance

Manufacturing performance

  • Energy consumption dropped 7.6% or 4.8% per vehicle manufactured.
  • CO2 emissions fell 11.2% in total or 3.2% per vehicle.
  • Since 2000, energy consumption has fallen 44% and CO2 emissions have declined 40.3%.
  • 27,700 MWh has been generated by renewable energy sources installed at automotive manufacturing facilities, enough for 6,700 homes.
  • The SMMT Climate change Agreement will improve members’ energy efficiency 15% by 2020.
  • Waste to landfill reduced by 16.7% and 85.4% since 2000 by signatories, only 2% of their waste was sent to landfill.



Vehicle performance

  • Average new car CO2 emissions fell 3.6% to 131g/km in 2012, outlined in the New Car CO2 Report 2013.
  • Alternatively-fuelled cars accounted for 1.4% of the new car market with petrol-electric hybrids proving most popular.
  • A new car is 20% more efficient than the average car in use. Since 2007, emissions have fallen 12%.
  • Green Bus Fund will help councils invest in buses that achieve 30% less emissions than a standard diesel bus.
  • Over 800 low carbon buses have been introduced to many UK towns and cities.


End of life vehicles (ELV)

            • Vehicle manufacturers’ have achieved the 85% (by weight) recycling/recovery target imposed by the End-of-Life Vehicle Directive since its introduction in 2006.
    • The automotive industry also supports progress towards implementing new post-shredder processes to meet the challenging 95% ELV recycling/recovery target by 2015.
    • Chinook Sciences Ltd and EMR (an Autogreen ally) have developed a 40MW gasification facility at Oldbury in the West  Midlands that achieves recycling rates beyond the impending 95% target.


Informing customers

  • Showroom labelling for pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars now have the same structure as conventional vehicles and follow the same rules about adverts and promotional materials containing CO2/MPG data.
  • In 2012 LowCVP also completed a research study to inform future EU discussions about how the colour-coded fuel economy label could be developed in future.
  • SMMT was closely involved in ensuring a smooth handover of the used car CO2 label system from VCA to HPI and Experian and in raising awareness in the industry during 2012.
  • HPI and Experian produced 1.8m used car labels between April and December and saw a monthly peak of 234,434 labels produced in October.
  • The EU Tyre Labelling Regulation 1222/2009 helps customers make informed purchasing decisions by requiring information to be provided on replacement tyres’ fuel efficiency, wet grip and external noise.

Future visions

  • UKH2Mobility is continuing to develop an action plan for an anticipated commercial roll-out of hydrogen fuel cell EVs in 2014-15.
  • The Commission will publish an EU strategy for reducing CO2 from heavy duty vehicles later in 2013.
  • An £11.3 million Technology Strategy Board (TSB) low carbon truck trial will put 300 vehicles on the road in 13 fleets.
  • The UK should have 1.2 million electric charging points by 2020, 10% will need to be publicly accessible.


Further information


Click here to download the full 2013 Sustainability Report.

Social performance



  • 731,000 jobs are directly dependent on the UK automotive sector.
  • Automotive manufacturing employment is up 2% to 146,000.
  • Staff turnover is at a record low of 3.6%.
  • Lost time accidents dropped 3.8%, reaching 2.2 per 1,000 employees.
  • Number of staff training days fell 15% to 2.7 per employee due to increase in e-learning, training on the job, toolbox-talks and mentoring.


Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot

  • Under Round 2 of the Employer Ownership Skills Pilot (EOP), the industry  submitted an ‘Industrial Partnership’ bid, to support skills needs of the automotive supply chain.
  • The sector also supports Round 2 bids submitted on behalf of the whole Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) sectors. Bids cover a wide range of issues, from development of pre-employment traineeships to reviewing the range and quality of STEM degrees across AME.



Promoting automotive careers to young people

  • Continuation of government’s See Inside Manufacturing initiative – the initiative designed to showcase the full range and diversity of careers available in manufacturing industries to young people and their influencers.
  • In 2012, the sector sought to develop the scheme from the successful automotive pilot in 2011, holding over 50 events at more than 20 automotive sites across the UK.
  • SMMT, the Institute for the Motor Industry (IMI) and the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI), piloted the Discover Automotive Retail initiative with a number of motor industry participants, including BMW Group UK which held multiple events.

Employability skills for young people

  • Through its Charitable Trust, SMMT supported an automotive pilot of the Foyer Federation Working Assets programme seeking to develop the skills of young people from  a diverse range of backgrounds to help them become employable, independent adults.
  • The pilot aimed to increase their awareness and knowledge of career opportunities available in UK automotive – Ford UK, Unipart Group and Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) participated.
  • During last year’s pilot scheme, 30 young people from Foyers across the UK took part in activities and projects led by the automotive partners, and 73% of participants have since gone on to employment, education or training.
  • SMMT’s collaboration with the Foyer Federation is planned to continue in 2013 and beyond.


Click here to download the full 2013 Sustainability Report.

Supply chain performance



  • In the UK there are around 2,350 automotive suppliers, employing 82,000 people (2009 data).
  • The supply chain overshadows final assembly in terms of both scale and complexity.
  • Each vehicle has 80,000 separate components and sub-components. An automotive aftermarket warehouse for a vehicle manufacturer might stock 250,000 separate part numbers.

Key performance indicators

    • Supply chain production levels continued to slow in 2012 due to the recession.
    • Almost all environmental KPIs improved, as shown by the traffic light indicators in the table below.
    • Annual water usage remained stable, reflecting a base load of consumption, for instance maintenance and some activities remain operational during stoppages.



Opportunities for growth after the recession

  •  A period of modest growth peaked in 2005, but the number of supply chain businesses fell sharply through the recession, as sales fell 25%  and value added was one third down.
  • In 2012, global vehicle manufacturers continued to invest heavily in UK automotive, creating a wave of new business opportunities at every level of the supply chain.
  • The Automotive Council report Growing the Automotive Supply Chain: The road forward identified more than £3 billion of annual opportunities available for suppliers wishing to invest in the UK.
  • UK automotive suppliers need access to specialist finance options, to build a globally-competitive skill set, invest in innovation, R&D and capital equipment and  achieve world class quality, cost and delivery.

 CS Vauxhall

Addressing key competitiveness challenges

  • To increase dialogue between vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, SMMT hosted over 300 one-to-one meetings in 2012 at itsMeet the Buyer event in the West Midlands to encourage greater levels of local sourcing.
  • SMMT hosted a Meet the Funder event in November 2012 to break down the barriers to funding and growth constraints affecting the UK supply chain, as suggested by the SMMT Give them some credit! report.


Further information

Click through for more information on the UK automotive supply chain.

Click here to download the full 2013 Sustainability Report.