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British car factories built 1.7m cars in 2016 - but will boom last?

Published: 26 January 2017

► SMMT reveals 1.7m cars built in UK
► 2016 total highest output for 17 years
 But Brexit poses risk to manufacturing

British car factories built 1.7 million cars in 2016, new figures out today reveal – the highest output for 17 years.

Official figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed a 9% increase on the year before.

Who’s buying all these British-built cars?

The good news – for UK plc’s trading balance – is that the majority of those cars were sold abroad.

More than 1.35m, or 80%, of British output is exported. And half of those exports land in Europe, the UK’s biggest automotive trading partner.

UK car manufacturing by numbers

One in seven new cars registered in Britain was built here, up from one in eight three years ago.

UK car manufacturing and Brexit

Fifteen car makers operate factories in the UK and the 1,722,698 vehicles made here last year is the highest total since 1992. It’s all looking so rosy – and £1.66 billion was pledged in automotive investment in 2016. 

Yet the surprise Brexit vote last summer has thrown a cloud of uncertainty over the manufacturing sector. 

Toyota executives have already openly started questioning the long-term viability of the Burnaston plant in Derbyshire, as car makers calculate how they can remain competitive if the UK does indeed leave the EU.

Click here to find out what Brexit means to car buyers

British-built cars: who makes what

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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