Of the 1.3 million cars which were built in Britain last year, a record 83% were manufactured for export, figures showed.
These exports were the driving force behind a 5.8% increase in UK car manufacturing.
Engine production was also on the rise, with 2.5 million being made, which was a 4.9% increase, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
This was despite December seeing a "modest" fall in production.
Chief executive of SMMT, Paul Everitt, said vehicle and engine production in the UK is still leading the recovery of the manufacturing industry, thanks to an increased output and exports seeing record-breaking figures.
"In 2011, vehicle manufacturers renewed their commitment to the UK, securing new model programmes, facilities and jobs for the long term," Mr Everitt said.
"It is essential that industry and Government continue to work in partnership to maximise the opportunities at all levels of the UK supply chain and encourage more investment in research and development, skills and new plant and machinery."
Some 1,124,676 of the 1,343,810 vehicles made in the UK in 2011 were exported, and the remaining 219,134 were kept for the home market.
There was a 17% increase in exports over the year, but UK sales production had a 29% decline, according to the SMMT.
Copyright Press Association 2012