Diverse UK car industry on display at SMMT

23 January 2014 #SMMT News

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As the UK car industry posts its highest manufacturing figures since 2007, SMMT is showcasing the sector’s diversity in an exhibition of three very different cars at its Westminster headquarters.

The Bentley Continental GTC V8 is one of the UK’s globally appealing premium products, while Nissan’s new Qashqai – set to follow in its predecessor’s footsteps as Britain’s most-built car – represents the UK’s prowess in volume manufacturing. The Radical RXC Turbo, meanwhile, is one of the UK’s many low-volume high-performance sports cars.

As well as having a manufacturing presence in the UK, all three brands on display also design and engineer cars here – which are then exported on a global scale.

With the company’s global headquarters based in Crewe, Cheshire, each Bentley model is designed, engineered and produced in the UK. Employing around 4,000, the plant produced more than 10,000 cars in 2013, with the value of its exports in the previous year exceeding £1 billion.

The Contintental GTC V8 on display is Bentley’s most efficient model to date, while the 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged unit still boasts a maximum power output of 500bhp and 660Nm torque.

Nissan’s latest Qashqai is also a truly home grown product, having been designed in London and engineered at the firm’s Technical Centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, before being assembled at its Sunderland plant.

The most productive manufacturer in the UK, Nissan built more than 500,000 Juke, Note and Qashqai models in Sunderland last year. With full-scale production of the new Qashqai starting this week, the Sunderland workforce now numbers over 7,000 for the first time in the plant’s 28-year history. In all, Nissan’s UK manufacturing operations support 40,000 jobs across the country.

Peterborough-based Radical exports its unique brand of low-volume road and race cars to customers in Europe, the Far East, the Americas and Australia. The firm’s RXC Turbo was launched in 2013, and marked Radical’s first foray into the supercar market.

The RXC has been designed to be as aerodynamic as possible, hence its Le Mans racer-like appearance. The 3.5-litre turbocharged Ford EcoBoost engine – also conceived in the UK – develops 454bhp, enough to power the 940kg car from 0-60 in just 2.6 seconds and on to 184mph. At this speed, the RXC generates 900kg downforce.

For more information on the UK automotive industry’s manufacturing successes in 2013, see SMMT’s full year manufacturing figures.

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