"What Britain lacks in production volumes it makes up for in state of the art models"

The UK might be small but we produce some of the world's best cars, says columnist Mike Rutherford

JLR models OPINION

The world is home to around 40 recognised and established car-producing countries. Collectively, this lot (plus a few other nations who dabble) produce a cool 68 million cars a year.

Britain is responsible for 1.5 million cars annually. Korea does 4.1m, the US 4.3m, Germany 5.6m, Japan 8.3m and China 19.9m. But what Blighty lacks in production volumes it more than makes up for in prestigious, state of the art models that make a great impact here and leave a deeper, positive impression overseas. Jaguar and Land Rover – both still designing and building their vehicles in the UK – prove this point brilliantly.

Of the hundreds of car makers worldwide, just eight have qualified for the prestigious finals of the World Car Awards to be staged at the New York International Auto Show on 2 April. One is Jaguar, another is Land Rover. The other six are BMW, Citroen, Ford, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Volvo. Or seen another way, 25 per cent of the WCA finalists this year are British marques.

True, Germany dominates the 2015 WCA finals thanks to the BMW i8 and M4 Coupe/M3 saloon, Mercedes C-Class, S-Class Coupe, AMG GT and S 500 Plug-in Hybrid, plus Volkswagen Passat and Golf GTE. But little ol’ Britain comes an impressive second with the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe and Range Rover Autobiography Black LWB. Then it’s France (Citroen C4 Cactus), US (Ford Mustang) and Sweden (Volvo XC90) in joint third place.

What’s hugely surprising here is that automotive giants such as Japan and Korea, with their numerous brands and state-of-the-art models, are conspicuous by their absence from the World Car Awards finals. Not one Asian model qualifies – despite the fact that the region is responsible for around half the world’s car production.

In terms of what can loosely be described as designing and building the best cars on the planet, it’s clear Germany, Britain, America, France and Sweden are ahead of Japan and Korea, and way ahead of China.

Asia might be the busiest car-producing region. Trouble is, it’s falling short in its attempts to build the best, most desirable models – thus its failure to reach the World Car Awards finals. Asia’s loss is Europe’s gain.

Let us know what you think of Britain's currrent production efforst in the comments below.

Recommended

'The Land Rover Defender and Aston Martin DBX must be front runners for World Car Design of the Year'
Opinion

'The Land Rover Defender and Aston Martin DBX must be front runners for World Car Design of the Year'

Mike Rutherford thinks cars from Gerry McGovern and Marek Reichman are favourites to win design award
30 Aug 2020
'VW Group management shake-up could be crucial to the car choice facing UK buyers'
Opinion

'VW Group management shake-up could be crucial to the car choice facing UK buyers'

Deputy editor John McIlroy points to outgoing Skoda boss as a key reason for the firm's success
15 Jul 2020
"Despite the tragedy of 2020 so far, several intriguing developments emerged in the final week of June"
Opinion

"Despite the tragedy of 2020 so far, several intriguing developments emerged in the final week of June"

Mike Rutherford recounts some significant stories that may have passed you by in recent weeks
12 Jul 2020
'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'
Kia

'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'

With Kia winning the World Car of the Year 2020 award with the American-built Telluride, Mike Rutherford believes Kia has beaten Jeep at their own gam…
18 Apr 2020

Most Popular

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp
BMW 3 Series M3 Coupe

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp

The new sixth-generation BMW M3 Competition saloon gets a 503bhp straight-six engine and four-wheel-drive
22 Sep 2020
New 2020 Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV revealed with up to 323 miles of range
Volkswagen ID.4

New 2020 Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV revealed with up to 323 miles of range

The new Tiguan-sized Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV becomes VW’s second ID. model, rivalling the Tesla Model Y
23 Sep 2020
New Range Rover Velar PHEV launched with 33-mile electric range
Land Rover Range Rover Velar

New Range Rover Velar PHEV launched with 33-mile electric range

Land Rover has given the Range Rover Velar an update, with a new plug-in hybrid powertrain and an improved infotainment system
23 Sep 2020