UK Automotive and the UK Economy

UK Automotive’s rich heritage in engineering and manufacturing makes it an important part of the UK’s diverse economy, with the high value goods it produces creating skilled jobs and driving exports.

The sector is already one of the UK’s most important economic pillars, delivering an annual £20.2 billion direct to the Treasury, employing 168,000 people and responsible for 12.8% of all the UK’s export in goods.

New figures show that the true scale of the sector’s economic contribution is significantly larger, at £202 billion 1.

From raw materials and R&D, to logistics, freight and shipping; from retail and distribution, finance, insurance, fuel and maintenance, to telecoms, electronics, IT and tech; and not forgetting motorsport, travel, advertising and media, sciences and education, the list of sectors which depend at least in part on the success of the automotive industry is extensive.

Some 200,000 people are employed in new car retail alone, while UK-based car finance firms employ over 45,000 more, with an annual £12.5 billion economic contribution.

On the road, the vehicle fuel industry supports 40,000 jobs 2, and a further 347,000 are employed in vehicle servicing and repair 3.

The UK’s globally renowned expert engineering base has attracted seven of the world’s 10 Formula One teams to make their homes here – together employing a further 41,000 people, 25,000 of them engineers 4.

With decisions on new vehicle models in the UK due in the next 6 to 12 months it’s essential that both industry and government does all it can to secure this investment and safeguard the thousands of jobs such investment demands.


1. Calculation based on 2010 OECD ‘automotive’ output multiplier of up to 3 using 2017 projection using UK ONS official sources, estimates and projections to 2017. N.B Multiplier values will vary by country, position in economic cycle, activities within the value chain and between domestic and all traded linkages.
2. 2017 projection based on UK ONS official sources, estimates and projections to 2017.
3. Source: The Importance of the Aftermarket to the UK Economy 2017, Frost & Sullivan and SMMT, June 2017.
4. Source: Motorsport Industry Association (MIA)

Update Newsletter