Headline facts: Frankfurt Motor Show

09 September 2011 #SMMT News

The UK automotive industry is Europe’s fourth largest producer of cars and a major international producer of engines and components. The country is a global leader in low carbon technology with significant investment being made in its R&D, engineering, design and production expertise by multinational automotive companies.

The key facts and figures below demonstrate the scale and scope of UK automotive:


  • UK automotive represents around 3% of total GDP.
  • Automotive manufacturing turnover accounts for two thirds of the UK’s total for the sector.
  • Typical UK automotive turnover is around £50bn.
  • Typical net value-added to the economy in excess of £8.5bn.
  • The industry employs over 700,000 people.
  • Automotive accounts for over 10% of total UK exports.
  • The UK industry invests more than £1 billion each year in R&D.


  • The UK is home to:
    • Seven volume car manufacturers.
    • Six commercial vehicle manufacturers.
    • 11 bus and coach manufacturers.
    • More than 10 niche and specialist vehicle manufacturers.
    • Eight Formula One teams.
    • Strong premium brands – second only to Germany in global market share. 
    • 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.

Supply chain

  • At present, about 80% of all component types required for vehicle assembly operations can be procured from UK suppliers.
  • The UK automotive supply chain typically generates £4.5 – £5bn of added value annually.
  • Around 2,350 UK companies regard themselves as ‘automotive’ suppliers, employing around 82,000 people (42% tier one, 19% tier two, 34% tier one and two).
  • It is estimated that every job in UK vehicle assembly supports 7.5 elsewhere in the economy.
  • Of all UK suppliers, over 70% manufacture their products in the UK.

Business environment

  • There is an industry-wide desire to source more components locally, particularly components in high technology, low carbon and electric vehicle areas.
    • Government is investing £50 million over the next three years to support UK manufacturers, improve productivity and international competitiveness.
    • The UK is internationally recognised for its ability to use workforce flexibility to manage efficiently fluctuation in production levels.
    • The Automotive Council is a collaborative industry and government body that is working strategically to shape the future of UK automotive.

Eco credentials

  • Since 2000, CO2 emissions of new cars registered in the UK have fallen by over 20%.
  • The next 20 years will see over £150bn invested low and ultra-low carbon vehicle technologies.
  • Emissions from the entire UK car parc have fallen by 7.8% since 2000.
  • The UK government has committed over £450 million towards placing the UK at the global forefront of the development, demonstration, manufacture and use of ultra-low carbon vehicles.

Latest market information

UK new car registration figures: 

Year-to-date Total Diesel Petrol AFV Private Fleet Business
2011 1,220,618 613,866 591,693 15,059 513,346 646,292 60,980
2010 1,300,413 576,625 709,753 14,035 613,091 625,434 61,888
% change -6.1% 6.5% -16.6% 7.3% -16.3% 3.3% -1.5%
Mkt share ’11   50.3% 48.5% 1.2% 42.1% 52.9% 5.0%
Mkt share ’10   44.3% 54.6% 1.1% 47.1% 48.1% 4.8%

 Ã¯»¿SMMT forecasts for 2011 and 2012

New car registrations: 1.93 million units, down 5% on 2010.
Diesel penetration: 49.7%, up from 46.1% in 2010.

New LCV registrations: 257,300 units, up 15.4% on 2010.

New car registrations: 2.006 million units, up 3.9% on the 2011 forecast.
Diesel penetration: 48.8%, down from 49.7% forecast for 2011.

New LCV registrations: 259,700 units, up 0.9% on the 2011 forecast.


 Recent announcements from UK automotive companies in 2011:

 2 February 2011 McLaren Automotive – First McLaren MP4-12C high-performance sports car entered into production at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking. 

 2 March 2011 Jaguar Land Rover – Supply contracts in excess of £2billion for the new Range Rover Evoque awarded to over 40 UK-based companies.

 24 March 2011 Opel/Vauxhall Confirmed Luton as the manufacturing site for the next generation Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro light commercial vehicle, which will enter into production in 2013.

 28 March 2011 – Tata Motors – Announced engineering and technology expansion plans at its Tata Motor’s European Technical Centre (TMETC) in Warwickshire – Facilities at the centre are expected to increase by 40% by 2013.

 11 April 2011 Aston Martin – Announced new city car, the Cygnet, will be produced at its Gaydon facility in Warwickshire, creating approximately 150 new jobs and more within the UK’s supply chain. The Cygnet is the 11th major new production car that Aston Martin has bought to the UK facility since it was founded in 2004.

13 April 2011 MG – Announced new MG6 GT sports fastback will be designed, engineered and finally assembled at its UK-based production facility in Longbridge, Birmingham; 400 jobs safeguarded. Further announcement expected that a second model, the MG6 Magnette four-door sports saloon will also be designed, engineered and finally assembled in the UK. 

29 April 2011 Jaguar Land Rover – £490 million investment in its Solihull manufacturing plant to build C-X75 all-hybrid supercar; 4,500 jobs created; 85% UK sourced parts.

5 May 2011 Optare – Unveiled its new manufacturing facility in Elmet, Yorkshire with the capability to manufacture approximately 1,200 buses annually and 400 jobs safeguarded. The facility will be the first new bus assembly plant to open in the UK in almost 40 years.

6 June 2011 Aston Martin – Four-door Rapide sports car will commence production at its facility in Gaydon, Warwickshire, from the second half of 2012.

7 June 2011 – Toyota – Installed the world’s first large-scale solar panel array for mass vehicle production at its Derbyshire plant. The panels will generate sufficient electricity to manufacture 7,000 cars and save 2,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. The panels will be used in the manufacture of the Auris hybrid, Auris and Avensis models at the UK plant.

8 June 2011 Nissan – £192 million investment to design, engineer and build the new Qashqai in the UK; 6,000 jobs safeguarded and 43% UK sourced parts. Additionally, £420 million confirmed investment in Sunderland plant for the production of the Nissan LEAF from 2013 and for a new stand-alone facility to produce lithium-ion batteries for Renault and Nissan vehicles from 2012.

9 June 2011 BMW – £500 million investment in new facilities and equipment at the Oxfordshire assembly plant, the engine plant in Hams Hall, Birmingham and the pressings plant in Swindon. 5,000 jobs safeguarded with announcements that MINI Coupé from 2011 and MINI Roadster from 2012 will both be built in the UK.

27 June 2011 – UK Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF) based at the University of East Anglia (UEA) invested £400,000 in new automotive technologies designed to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

17 August 2011 – The Schaeffler Group – several million euros invested into its engine components manufacturing plant in Llanelli, South Wales. 230 jobs safeguarded.  

19 August 2011 MIRA – Awarded ‘Enterprise Zone Status’ at its West Midlands development facility, creating over 2,000 jobs over the next 10 years and facilitating global R&D operations from its UK base.

31 August 2011 – MINI announced production of its two millionth MINI at its Oxford plant. 

5 September 2011 – Jaguar Land Rover – Announced 336 new graduate recruits will join its training programme to develop technical and engineering expertise for careers in UK automotive.   

9 September 2011 – Nissan announces 25 years of manufacturing at its UK Sunderland plant. Production of the new Qashqai will take Nissan’s total investment in its UK manufacturing base to £3.3 billion.

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