SMMT report highlights ‘excellent’ UK automotive industry health

Posted on 1 Jul 2014 by The Manufacturer

A new report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has shed light on the excellent economic, environmental and social shape of the UK’s automotive industry.

In the trade body’s 15th annual Automotive Sustainability Report published today, the SMMT reveals figures from 2013 show large improvements in UK manufacturers plans to grow, invest and improve environmental performance.

In 2013 alone, an estimated 44,000 new jobs were created across the automotive sector, of which 14,000 were in manufacturing.

This growth was matched in domestic automotive manufacturing turnover which grew 10.3% to top £64 billion, fuelled by extensive investment in research and development – a key strength of the UK – which in itself grew 9.7% since 2012 to £1.9 billion a year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said the UK automotive sector remains a crucial contributor to the nation’s economy.

“The UK automotive industry contributes hugely to the country’s economic health by building millions of vehicles, engines and components here every year and employing hundreds of thousands of people,” he said.

“The progress made by the industry over the past year alone is hugely important. Growing our skills base and encouraging more automotive suppliers to base their businesses in the UK is now essential for us to maintain this positive momentum.”

Industry analysts suggest that by 2017 the UK could be building more than two million cars a year, breaking the all-time record that has stood for more than 40 years.

With continued investment from the world’s biggest automotive brands, the future looks bright for the sector, but concerns remain over the rate of growth and demand for specialist skills leaving manufacturers under pressure to recruit and up-skill staff.

Other challenges facing the industry include doubts over supplier capacity with the industry urged to re-shore more component provider.

In its environmental performance, the Sustainability Report shows big reductions in CO2 output and waste sent to landfill by manufacturing sites.

Carmakers in the UK have cut landfill volumes so dramatically in recent years that, per vehicle, just 3.5kg ends up as landfill waste – a massive 91.3% reduction on 15 years ago when reporting began.