UK car output hits fresh high

 
Marion Dakers
BRITAIN produced more than 1.5m cars last year, putting the industry in sight of the output peak of the 1970s, figures out today show.

The number of cars rolling off UK production lines rose 3.1 per cent to reach the highest level since 2007.

“UK automotive investment announcements exceeded £2.5bn in 2013, reinforcing industry analysts’ suggestions that the UK could break all-time car output records within the next four years,” said Mike Hawes of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Britain produced 1.92m cars in 1972 – a record the SMMT thinks will be beaten in 2017.

Nissan, the biggest UK car maker with 501,756 vehicles last year, yesterday started producing the new Qashqai at its Sunderland plant.

Around four-fifths of the cars made in Britain are sold overseas. Exports fell 0.9 per cent during the year, as burgeoning demand in China was offset by an extended slump in car sales across Europe.

More than 308,000 British-made cars were bought in this country, up 21.8 per cent on the previous year.