Geneva Motor Show: Essential UK automotive facts

01 March 2011 #SMMT News

As Europe’s fourth largest manufacturer of cars, a major international producer of engines and components and a leader in automotive R&D, engineering, design and development, the UK motor industry will be out in force at next week’s Geneva motor show.

The facts and figures below demonstrate the growing importance of UK automotive:


  • Manufacturing growth is driving economic recovery.
  • Automotive turnover accounts for two thirds of the UK’s overall manufacturing total.
  • Typical UK automotive turnover is around £50bn.
  • UK automotive represents around 3% of total GDP.
  • Annual net value-added to the economy in excess of £10bn.
  • The industry employs over 700,000 people.
  • The supply chain represents about 40% of the retail price of a passenger car.
  • The combined UK purchasing spend of UK-based automotive, commercial vehicle and yellow goods manufacturers is £7.4bn per annum. The amount purchased in the UK equates to approximately 36% of their global purchasing spend.
  • The UK automotive supply chain typically generates £4.5 – £5bn of added value annually.
  • The UK supplier spends on average £36mn, of which 46% is spent in the UK.
  • Around 2,350 UK companies regard themselves as ‘automotive’ suppliers, employing around 82,000 people (data as of the end of 2009).
  • It is estimated that every job in the vehicle assembly supports 7.5 elsewhere in the economy.


  • The UK is home to:

o    Seven volume car manufacturers.

o    10 commercial vehicle manufacturers.

o    Eight bus and coach manufacturers.

o    More than 10 niche and specialist vehicle manufacturers.

o    Eight Formula One teams.

  • Over one million vehicles and two million engines are produced in the UK each year.
  • Automotive manufacturing levels are set grow to pre-recession levels by 2014.
  • More than 75% of vehicles manufactured in the UK are exported.
  • Pre-recession new car production in 2007 (1,534,567 units) showed a 73% increase on the 1982 low of 887,679 units.
  • On average, 74% of UK-based suppliers manufacture in the UK, as opposed to those who assemble or distribute components.
  • At present, about 80% of all component types required for vehicle assembly operations can be procured from UK suppliers.
  • 42% of UK suppliers classify themselves as first tier suppliers, 19% classify as second-tier suppliers while 34% categorise themselves as both first- and second-tier suppliers.

Business environment

  • The UK is the number one European country in Business Monitor’s latest rankings of ‘Business Environment’.
  • The Automotive Council is a partnership between industry and government overseeing the strategic direction of the UK motor industry.

Eco Credentials

  • Since 2000, CO2 emissions of new cars registered in the UK have fallen by 20%.
  • Emissions from the entire UK car parc have fallen by 7.8% despite the number of cars on the road growing by more than 10%.
  • The reduction of CO2 output for UK vehicles is consistently quicker than the European average.

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