UK Automotive Manufacturing Achieves Record Turnover of £77.5 Billion
The UK’s automotive manufacturing sector turned over a record £77.5 billion in 2016, marking a seventh consecutive year of growth, while productivity, production output and vehicle sales also increased.
According to a new report by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), UK car and commercial vehicle production and new vehicle registration volumes grew to record levels in 2016, up 8.9% and 0.2% respectively.
Meanwhile, employment in manufacturing remained stable at 169,000 jobs, resulting in productivity reaching a record high of 11.8 vehicles produced for each person employed in the industry. The average manufacturing worker is claimed to have generated more than £130,000 for the British economy, up 9.8% on 2015. The number of livelihoods dependent on the sector as a whole stood at 814,000 across manufacturing, retail, distribution and repair services.
The record turnover by UK motor manufacturing represents a 9.0% increase on 2015, with the additional value added to the UK economy rising 7.3% to £21.5 billion. The industry also upped its investment in innovation, with R&D spend reaching £2.75 billion last year, up from £2.5 billion in 2015.
The sector’s improved social and economic performance was achieved while simultaneously reducing the environmental impact of its manufacturing processes. In 2016, for example, CO2 emissions per vehicle produced fell by -2.9%, energy use per vehicle fell by -3.2% and water use by -3.5%. Waste to landfill was cut by more than a third (-33.7%) to a new record low of 0.9% of all waste produced, with almost 90% recycled, while manufacturers continued to invest in onsite renewable energy production, in 2016 producing 57.7 GHh of energy – enough to power 14,420 homes.
Manufacturers also continued to invest in developing the latest low-emission technology to address the air quality challenge. Alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) registrations increased in 2016, up 22.2% to account for 3.3% of the market, making the UK the biggest market for plug-in electric cars in Europe. At the same time, average new car CO2 emissions fell for a 19th year to just 120.1 g/km – 33.6% below levels in 2000.