Industry Topics


SMMT’s economics team provides authoritative and reliable economic and automotive data, including analysis and outlooks. The team is responsible for analysing key industry indicators, including SMMT’s own production, new registrations, used transactions and parc data, as well as external data sources – such as the ONS, HMRC and DfT. This information is used to support press releases, publications and consultations from the SMMT, as well as brief members and other key stakeholders.

The economics team delivers regular outputs including SMMT’s quarterly outlook for new car and van registrations, the weekly Economic Intelligence Update and bi-annual Production Outlook reports.

Automotive’s Economic Contribution – Key Industry Indicators

  • Turnover – Automotive manufacturing turnover was £67 billion in 2022
  • Gross value added (GVA) – £14.1 billion in 2022
  • Employment – At 182,200 automotive manufacturing jobs. Wider automotive employment was 780,000, down -1.4%. The average worker in automotive manufacturing (SIC29) earnt 16.7% more than the average worker in the UK in 2019, with those in vehicle manufacturing (SIC29.1) 34.5% above average.
  • Regional impact – Automotive manufacturing can be found in every region of the UK. Government data shows 34% of automotive jobs are in the West Midlands, 12% in the North West, 11% in the South East and 10% in the North East. Whilst automotive manufacturing accounts for 0.5% of all jobs nationally and 6.5% for manufacturing, that rises to 2% and 17.5% respectively for the West Midlands and 1.4% and 14.4% for the North East.

SMMT economic contribution data is based on Annual Business Survey, ONS, or own data based on SIC 29 (automotive sector), SIC22.11 (tyres) and others for manufacturing. For wider automotive SIC45 (automotive retailing), 47.3 (fuel retailing) and 77.1 (vehicle leasing) is also included.

  • UK runs an automotive trade deficit: importing £43.9 billion worth of goods in 2020, and exporting £30.1 billion, a net deficit of -£13.8 billion. This is improved on 2019’s -£15.4 billion, as imports fell by more than exports decline. Automotive = 10.9% all exported goods in 2020, down from 13.0% in 2019 (and peak of 15% 2016), and 5.3% all goods and services. 11.3% all goods imported is automotive and 7.5% of goods and services (all data ONS).

    87.4% of call cars registered in the UK in 2020 were imported, and 78% of those (or 68% of the total market) come from the EU27

    81.3% of all cars built in the UK in 2020 were exported, with 53% going to the EU27 (or 43% of all production). America and Asia make up the majority of other key destinations for car exports.

    For more details on trade and importance of auto sector to UK trade see our Trade Report

  • Motoring on taxes on consumers – over £50 billion in 2019

    £bn Fuel duty VED BIK IPT VAT Total
    2019 27.8 7.0 2.7 2.0 12.5 52.1

    SMMT estimates for IPT and VAT. VED: Vehicle Excise Duty, BIK: Benefit-in Kind, eg company car tax, IPT: insurance premium tax

    • ACEA Tax Guide – gives details of UK (provided by SMMT) and other European automotive tax regimes
    • Find the latest VED rates here and for Company Car Tax rates here
    • SMMT Tax Panel – The Panel’s role is to monitor, review and where necessary recommend collective action within SMMT on general business tax regimes as well as automotive specific taxes. Recent issues have regarding inputs to government reviews on reforming VED, proposal to use type approval as the basis to define a vehicle for tax purposes and develop an industry position on business rate reforms and proposals.

  • A round up of key economic and automotive news – see latest

  • For details of SMMT’s Climate Change Agreement and other business energy regimes which impact the sector see here


For more information contact the team –

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