UK builds more cars than France for first time since 1966

UK car production surpasses France in 2013
10 Jan, 2014 2:20pm Ray Massey

Rising sales of UK-built cars sees domestic factories move ahead of European rival

The UK's soaring motor manufacturing industry has seen it surpass ailing neighbour France in terms of total car production for the first time since 1966 say industry chiefs.

As the UK car production speeds up, French car-makers are hitting the brakes allowing the UK to cut in ahead of it and assume its current third place position.

It’ll be the first time Britain has been ahead of its gallic rivals since England won the World Cup at Wembley in 1966 and the growth shows no sign of slowing as it accelerates towards a new record high.

Rising sales of British-built cars - both at home and in key export markets – mean France is set to be relegated from third to fourth place in the European production ‘league-table, behind Germany and Spain, as Britain overtakes it.

• UK new car sales highest since 2007

Motor industry bosses believe figures to be released later this month will show UK car production nudging ahead to 1.55million cars for 2013 – up from 1.47 million in 2012 and 1.35million in 2011.

By contrast France’s car production is expected to slip to around 1.54million cars for 2013 - down from 1.66million in 2012 and 1.88 million in 2011, they say.

And it won’t stop there. UK car production is predicted to hit a new all-time record of nearly 2 million within three years on the back of billions of pounds of new investment designed specifically to increase production.

What's behind the UK's car building boom?

The car-building boom is being spearheaded by mainstream British-brands such as Jaguar Land Rover, MINI, and Vauxhall as well as super-luxury car-makers like Rolls-Royce and Bentley. But let's not forget the UK factories of Japanese giants such as Nissan, Toyota and Honda.

France’s ailing economy, problems with the Euro, overcapacity, a sluggish domestic market and a lack of business confidence under the current socialist Government are cited as key reasons for its decline in car manufacturing and domestic car sales. This is in sharp contrast to the more favourable economic and business conditions in the UK.

A spokesman for Britain’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said: "We’re currently neck and neck with France but Britain’s car production is on an upward trend. France’s is on a downward trend. We’re about to cross. It could well be that the new figures will show that 2013 is the year in which we overtake them."

Powerhouse Germany is on track to report building a massive 5.45m cars in 2013 ahead of second place Spain with a predicted 1.76m, with the UK then tucked in behind just ahead of France.

UK new car sales highest since 2007
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Disqus - noscript

I wonder if Ford are regretting ending vehicle production in the UK, it appears every other manufacturer are reaping the benefits, and who knows perhaps they could have built the new Mondeo here and already had it on sale.

It is a crying shame that none of them are British owned,I still miss being able to buy Rover/MG's. The government allowed them to die and then gave subsidies to foreign manufacturers to set up here. I do not feel guilty buying cars made abroad, at the end of the day the profits from the British built ones go abroad anyway!

Way to go, Britain.
In your face, Ford.

But let's not forget Nissan? The plant has built over half a million cars a year for the last two years!!

Eurofouls, that's the end of those who joined that sick coin. British should thanks those who opposed euro night and day.

The Government wasn't the problem, it was the militant unions that killed the British motor industry.

What about Aston Martin & Lotus & shortly reviving Jensen???

Ford has never been a British company in the sense that the shots have never been called in this country or even in this continent. Various harrumphing "aged flatulences " need to remember that we need to deal with all those "nasty foreign" people who have the aptitude to run these concerns which, sadly, we proved not to possess. If we don't, they will go.

Ultimate profits maybe. But on the way to those profits the car workers get paid, and they pay income tax on the UK exchequer. Buy UK built cars if you can, but only if they are good.