There can't be many sectors in the UK boasting double digit growth right now – or ones which export 63% of output.
However, UK car production in the first half of the year rose 14.1% to hit 750,000, which means an annual rate of 1.5 million. That compares to 1.0 million in 2009, and means it is almost back to its pre-crisis level of 1.6 million reached in 2007/2008. Over the next few months it could drop back a little as demand from southern Europe is now so weak, but the medium-term outlook is still very rosy.
Many UK car factories have announced expansion plans over the next three years:
- Vauxhall is going to significantly increase the next-generation Astra, as production will shift from a German factory to Ellesmere Port.
- Honda has made a strategic decision to move more of its global production to Swindon to combat the high yen.
- Nissan will introduce a new model in Sunderland next year, raising production to 550,000 per year – the highest output of any UK car factory, ever.
Some other plants, like Mini in Oxford, are now at full capacity, but have said they will definitely stay at their current level of output.
In addition, engine production rose 0.5%, and is now running at 2.7 million a year. If you are wondering where all the extra engines go, the UK is the global centre for Ford's diesel engine production and also a big centre for BMW engine manufacturing.