Off to Geneva? Pack the facts that SMMT tracks!

01 March 2013 #SMMT News

SMMT’s 2013 Motor Industry Facts showcases the headline statistics about UK automotive in the run-up to next week’s Geneva Motor Show. Featuring the latest 2012 data, the guide details last year’s increases in registrations and manufacturing, the success of new models in the UK, a continued improvement in average CO2 emissions, investment in new facilities and equipment and much more.

The UK new car market is now the second largest in Europe. Last year, 2,044,609 new cars were registered, overtaking annual volumes in France and coming second only to Germany. The best selling car in 2012 was the Ford Fiesta (109,265 units registered), followed by the Vauxhall Corsa (89,434 units registered).

Emissions from new cars registered in the UK have never been lower. Contributing to the continued decline last year were the 27,319 alternatively-fuelled vehicles registered – an increase of 7.7% on 2011, boosted by new electric and hybrid models coming onto the market.

Although car manufacturing has not yet returned to pre-recession levels, full year 2012 figures confirm the highest output since 2008 and a record 1.21 million cars exported. The largest manufacturer in the UK is Nissan, producing more than half a million cars in 2012. The most popular model built at its Sunderland plant last year was the Qashqai, accounting for more than 300,000 units. In total, the UK is home to more than 30 major vehicle manufacturing sites, producing in excess of 60 model lines across the car and commercial vehicle sectors and supplying to over 100 markets worldwide.

Motor Industry Facts pulls all the key information about UK automotive into one place, celebrating the industry’s reputation for innovation, quality and manufacturing excellence across all sectors,” said Mike Baunton, SMMT Interim Chief Executive. “2012 was an outstanding year for UK automotive, with export and production site records being broken. New opportunities have been created within the supply chain, thanks to major investment commitments, and SMMT is bringing industry and lenders together with its popular Meet the Buyer and Meet the Funder events.”

Engine production is another key part of the UK automotive industry. Around 62% of engines made in the UK are manufactured at Ford’s plants in Dagenham and Bridgend. The Dagenham Diesel Centre is run on 100% renewable energy and meets more than 50% of Ford’s global demand for diesel engines. In 2012, the plant manufactured its 40 millionth engine.

There has been significant investment in the automotive industry over the past two years. In 2012 alone, commitments topped £2.5 billion, including investment into Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Vauxhall and many component manufacturers, boosting the UK’s £4.8 billion supply chain.

Last year, the Automotive Council identified more than £3 billion of opportunities for domestic automotive suppliers. Among the key commodity opportunities are engine castings, steering systems and trim components, collectively representing £760 million of potential new business for many of the UK’s 2,000+ supply chain companies.

The UK is also home to more specialist car manufacturers than any other country, including some of the world’s most iconic and prestigious brands. These companies make around 25,000 vehicles a year, typically sourcing around two thirds of their components from the UK and have a combined turnover of around £2.5 billion.

A full printed version of 2013 Motor Industry Facts will be available in May 2013.

PDF version: Click here to download 2013 Motor Industry Facts.

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

Industry performance

  • Typical UK automotive turnover is around £55 billion.
  • Annual net value-added to the economy is around £12 billion.
  • UK automotive accounts for 11% of total UK exports.


  • The UK is home to:
    • Seven volume car manufacturers.
    • Eight major premium and sports car manufacturers and more than 100 specialist brands.
    • Eight commercial vehicle manufacturers and 10 bus and coach manufacturers.
    • In 2012, UK automotive manufactured 1.5 million cars, 112,039 commercial vehicles and 2.5 million engines, exporting more than 80% of total vehicles and 62% of engines to markets around the world.

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 £4.8bn of added value to the UK economy.
  • There are around 2,350 UK companies that regard themselves as ‘automotive’ suppliers, employing more than 80,000 people.
  • It is estimated that every job in UK vehicle assembly supports 7.5 elsewhere in the economy.

Registrations and sales

  • By volume, the UK new car market is the second largest in Europe.
  • For the first time ever, registrations of diesel cars topped one million units.
  • The Supermini segment took the largest share of the UK new car market in 2012 with 36.4%.

Environmental credentials

  • In the last 10 years, CO2 emissions of new cars registered in the UK have fallen by more than 20%, averaging 133.1g/km in 2012.
  • The total number of cars on UK roads in 2011 emitting less than 100g/km CO2 was 123,296.
  • In 2011, UK vehicle manufacturers reduced energy consumption per vehicle produced by 14%.

Apprenticeships and training

  • During the past five years, UK automotive has employed more than 75,000 young people as apprentices in engineering and manufacturing.
  • There are more than 700,000 people employed across the automotive industry, with 140,000 people directly employed in manufacturing.

To find out even more about the UK automotive industry, click here to download 2013 Motor Industry Facts.

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