Belfast Telegraph

Parisians given a glimpse of UK's prestigious car brands

Eight of the UK's major car brands were showcased next to the Eiffel Tower ahead of one of the world's most prestigious motor shows.

An Aston Martin DB11, Mini Clubman and Vauxhall Astra were among the vehicles displayed in front of the landmark in advance of the Paris Motor Show, which opens on Thursday.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said UK-built cars are more popular than ever.

A new car rolls off production lines every 16 seconds and around 80% of all cars produced are exported, according to the industry body.

A record 1.2 million cars were exported to more than 100 countries last year, and figures for the first eight months of 2016 are 13% higher than the same period in 2015.

Some 57% of the UK's car exports go to the European Union, followed by the US (12%) and China (7%).

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "The UK automotive industry is respected globally for its rich heritage, iconic brands and engineering excellence.

"More than £10 billion of investment has gone into new facilities and models over the past five years and we're proud to see so many rival brands coming together to promote the strengths of UK automotive ahead of a key international motor show.

"The future success of this sector will hinge upon the ability of the UK to maintain the business and trading conditions that make the sector so competitive globally."

:: These are the top 10 destinations for UK-built cars in 2016 (number of cars exported in brackets):

1. European Union (502,647)

2. US (106,425)

3. China (62,440)

4. Turkey (28,431)

5. Australia (22,309)

6. Japan (17,849)

7. South Korea (16,127)

8. Canada (12,888)

9. Russia (9,709)

10. Israel (9,680)