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Do we still make cars in the UK?

01 Oct 2012 at 17:15

Do we still make cars in the UK? Quite simply, yes we do. And our automotive industry is a rare shining light in a largely depressed European car sector.

In terms of manufacturing in the automotive sector, the UK is proving it’s a major player. From high-end supercar technology, including F1-inspired carbon fibre chassis technology with the likes of McLaren’s MP4-12C model, to conventional hatchbacks such as the Honda Civic, vehicle production in Britain is strong.

There’s even a decent gaggle of native manufacturers still producing vehicles in Blighty. We touched on McLaren, but you can add to that list Jaguar, Land Rover and Vauxhall – all of which have large manufacturing facilities producing cars for not just a national market, but worldwide buyers that wants to own them.

It’s not just native manufacturers that are producing cars in Britain, either. The huge Japanese automotive powerhouses – Nissan, Honda and Toyota – all believe the UK is a strong site to have a production facility.

At the beginning of the year Nissan announced it would be pumping a further £127 million into its Sunderland plant, matched by £8.2 million of Government funding to create more than 3,000 new jobs. Honda and Toyota have also made big-money commitments to the UK in recent times.

If the UK wasn’t building cars – British brands or not – manufacturers wouldn’t be throwing money at the situation.

Car production is benefitting many regions of the UK, too. An additional shift has been added up in the northeast Nissan plant too, as it has at Land Rover’s Halewood facility in Liverpool. Jaguar Land Rover and Toyota dominate in the Midlands while, further south, Honda’s Swindon plant produces over a quarter of a million vehicles every year and more than 1,000 engines per day ready to be exported world-wide.

Then there’s all the engines we produce in the UK – Toyota has a huge plant in Wales, as does Ford, while the blue oval’s Dagenham facility now supplies the engine for one in three Fords sold worldwide. An astonishing number – one that shows we don’t just make cars, but also make the parts that go into them.

Manufacturing in this country is a real success story and building cars in Britain is something to be proud of – as a car fan, as an economy and as a nation.