2020 Automotive Sustainability Report

Small Volume Manufacturing

The UK is home to more than 60 specialist car manufacturers, which is the highest number in one country. The UK produces some of the most globally iconic brands, including Aston Martin Lagonda, Lotus and McLaren, which are signatories to this report.

Over the years, these brands have also provided innovative new technologies, partly through their roots in motorsport, notably light-weighting and highly efficient powertrains. Typically, they also employ a highly specialised and skilled workforce, which helps them differentiate their products from mainstream production.

Based on the 2017 SMMT report, in 2016, the UK’s specialist car manufacturers had a turnover of £3.6 billion, collectively employed over 11,000 people and produced more than 2,000 cars, of which two-thirds were exported around the world. Output is expected to grow to in excess of 50,000 units by 2020.

We define specialist car manufacturers as producing around 10,000 vehicles, or fewer, globally per year. These businesses are highly diverse and produce a vast array of different types
of vehicles, from sports cars, luxury tourers, limousines and SUVs, to taxis and wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

Specialist car manufacturers compete in the global marketplace, exporting around the world to markets as diverse as the EU, US, China, Japan and the Gulf States. As such, they need to comply with a huge range of differing regulations and requirements.

While it is encouraging that some policies and regulations already recognise the specialist nature of the industry, greater harmonisation of regulations, which also recognise the particularities of these businesses, would enable the sector to grow further. The right trade and business conditions also need to be in place to ensure the UK’s specialist car manufacturers remain competitive.

For further information, see the SMMT UK Specialist Car Manufacturers report 2017.

Small Volume Manufacturers KPIs

Small Volume Manufacturer signatories defied the decline in the overall sector in 2017, achieving an impressive 21% increase in production. As expected, some absolute usage figures increased, although by lower volumes than the rise in output. All relative figures have improved. These impressive results are due to continued efforts to create clean and lean production processes, while maintaining the quality of products.