Car leaves UK assembly line every 20 seconds
The number of cars built in the UK topped 1.5m last year, the highest for six years, amid "surging" demand at home and abroad, with vehicles rolling off a production line every 20 seconds, new figures have revealed.
Production increased by 3.1% in 2013, with analysts predicting that output would reach record levels of around 2m by 2017.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the UK was set to become the third largest car manufacturer in Europe after Germany and Spain.
Four out of five cars built in the UK last year were exported, with strong demand reported in China, the USA and Russia.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "2013 demonstrated the value of the UK's diverse car manufacturing industry, as surging home demand and robust exports outside Europe saw output grow 3.1% to over 1.5m units.
"UK automotive investment announcements exceeded £2.5bn in 2013, reinforcing industry analysts' suggestions that the UK could break all-time car output records within four years."
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Today's figures are another sign that the British car industry is going from strength to strength, with one vehicle rolling off a production line somewhere in the UK every 20 seconds.
"Around 80% of the 1.5m cars we produced last year were exported – a testament to the diverse, high quality of British manufacturing."
Nissan built the most cars – over half a million – at its plant in Sunderland last year, followed by Land Rover (340,000), Toyota (179,000), Mini (174,000), Honda (138,000), Jaguar (78,000) and Vauxhall (73,000).