The UK’s car production dipped in January 2015, with output slightly down on the same month the year before, according to SMMT. Industry insiders, however, have sought quickly to quell the reports, saying that they expect UK vehicle manufacturing to rapidly improve as the year progresses.
In January 2014, there were 1.2% more cars made in the UK than there were in January of this year, with the official figure for cars made here down to 127,35. Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, quickly scorched rumours of a downturn in fortune for the UK automotive industry, insisting that the slight dip in output is due to new investment, which the UK is still adjusting to.
“Vehicle manufacturers have invested heavily in the UK in recent years,” explained Hawes, “bringing new models and technology to our factories. The slight dip in output in January is a result of this investment as major UK car manufacturers begin production of new models. As production ramps up throughout the year, we expect to see the sector’s output increase.”
Vital Cog In The Economy
Perhaps one of the reasons the reduced output appeared alarming is the fact that the automobile industry is a key part of the UK economy as a whole. 160,000 people are employed in the manufacturing sector alone, whilst the total number of people working in the industry stands at 770,000. Moreover, the official turnover stands at £64billion – which equates to 10% of the UK’s total export of goods. Because of the success of the UK’s automotive industry, the country is able to attract many of the world’s finest engineers.
Hope For The Future
There is still a lot of cause for optimism, in spite of the reports. The output in January 2015 was actually 16% higher than it was in the same month of 2009, whilst the amount of cars the UK exports to China has rocketed to seven times what it was in 2009. In 2014, the UK exported 137,410 of their own cars to China, which represented 14.5% increase on 2013. This indicates that the UK is improving their presence in the Asian market, with 220,682 UK-built cars exported there in 2014 compared to just 60,804 in 2009.
Moreover, whilst output was down in January, new models are expected later this year, with further announcements also anticipated. This means that growth is certain to improve as the year goes on, with Hawes saying that there is still a lot of “confidence in the (commercial) sector. The home market for commercial vehicles has been strong in recent months and we expect a continued resurgence to help drive growth.”
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