India triples imports of British-built cars as demand for premium vehicles grows

02 February 2016 #SMMT News

New Delhi, 2 February, 2016 UK car exports to India have more than trebled in the past five years, according to data released today ahead of Auto Expo 2016. In 2015, the UK exported 194.5% more cars to the region than in 2010, and 5.4% more than last year, putting India in the UK’s top 10 Asian export markets. The uplift in demand to India came despite a contraction of the Asian market as a whole, which fell 17.3% as Chinese exports declined.

British manufacturers made more cars in 2015 than any year since 2005 when 1,595,697 vehicles were produced. Production increased 3.9% on 2014, with output at 1,587,677 overtaking pre-recession levels for the first time.1 A record number of cars – representing 77.3% of total production – was built for export, with 1,227,881 units leaving the UK for global markets – up 2.7% on 2014 levels.

Top 10 Asian export markets

Export stats 10 asian

Asia is the third biggest export market for British-built cars, after being overtaken by the US, where demand grew 26.5% in 2015 compared with the previous year. The EU, however, remains the UK’s biggest trading partner, taking 57.5% of all car exports – up 11.3%.

Economic growth in a number of Asian markets, including India, has led to an increased demand for high-quality luxury vehicles, and key to the UK sector’s success has been meeting this demand with a ‘shift to premium’ by British manufacturers. In 2010, 37% of UK car production was by premium manufacturers; this is projected to rise to 57% by 2020 when overall manufacturing levels are set to reach record levels, exceeding 2 million units. The UK is already Europe’s second-highest producer of premium cars, behind only Germany.

Tamzen Isacsson, Director of Communications and International, SMMT, said, “Growing prosperity in Asian markets over the past five years has seen a surge in demand for premium cars, even despite high import duties in many countries. And while the volumes involved are still relatively modest, India’s middle class is set to quadruple over next decade putting demand for new cars in the country on course to increase significantly over the coming years. As a car market, India really understands British brands, and, thanks to its engineering excellence and highly skilled workforce, the UK has a rich heritage of producing the highest quality, globally competitive premium vehicles.”

Eight brand new car models, including Bentley Bentayga, Infiniti Q30, Jaguar XE, Jaguar XF, Land Rover Discovery Sport, McLaren 570S, MINI Clubman and Vauxhall Astra, were produced in UK plants in 2015, and with £2.5 billion of fresh investment committed in 2015, more are set to follow in the coming months.

Top 5 UK exports to India by brand in 2015

Export stats India brands


SMMT is leading a delegation of UK automotive companies to the Auto Expo Motor and Component Shows for the sixth year this week. A number of these companies, including Drive System Design, First Line, International Tool Company, George Jowitt Grinding Wheel, Magal Engineering, Range Stork, Scorpion Automotive, Southco and Top Gear, will be exhibiting their latest product innovations at the UK Pavilion of the Auto Expo Components Show in Hall 18 on Stand 29.

UK car manufacturing volumes

Car Manufacturing table


Asia market

The Asia export market consists of the following countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kampuchea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen.

  1. SMMT Data: 2007 full year car manufacturing total: 1,534,567.

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