Skip advert
Advertisement

"Which European country produces the most vehicles?"

Forget the football - Mike Rutherford's rounding up the car-manufacturing championships - and some of the finalists may surprise you

Yes, yes, I know the Euro 2016 final won’t be played until later. But there’s no need to wait until then to discover which of the 24 competing countries is Europe’s number one – in vehicle production terms.

Before I name the champ, runner-up, plus the also-rans, it’s my sad duty to reveal that six of the 24 build few if any vehicles – Albania, Croatia, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Switzerland and Wales, although the latter will soon be blessed with an Aston Martin factory.

Advertisement - Article continues below

UK car production approaches record high

Northern Ireland’s sole maker – Wrightbus – churns out just 1,300 a year, while Ukraine is a shadow of its former self (only around 8,000 vehicles built in 2015, according to official figures). Austria (126,000), Portugal (157,000) and Sweden (189,000) make far fewer than I imagined. Meanwhile, the only way is up for emerging Romania (387,000) and its increasingly popular Dacia brand.

NIssan Qashqai plant, factory, build, plant, sunderland

Once mighty Belgium (409,000) is in the dumps and paying the price for not having its own national car company. Hungary (495,000) is achingly close to reaching the psychologically important half million mark it craves, while Poland (661,000) is doing fine as it builds the Fiat 500s that many buyers assume are made in Italy.

Weirdly and without explanation, the latest ‘fact’ book from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders fails to mention Slovakia (1.0 million) as a European Top 10 automotive manufacturer – which it undoubtedly is now and will be in future when Jaguar Land Rover opens a factory there. Italy (1.0m) should be doing better – especially as it now enjoys the added bonus of building Jeeps on its soil. Thanks largely to the Skoda phenomenon, the Czech Republic (1.3m) is still on a roll, as are Turkey (1.3m) and Russia (1.4m).

Jaguar Land Rover confirms factory in Slovakia

England (1.7m) boasts dozens of vehicle manufacturers but, so far, not quite the annual production volumes to beat fellow semi-finalist, France (2.0m). Give it time. Underdog Spain (2.7m) isn’t exactly blessed with a bunch of homegrown vehicle makers and therefore deserves huge credit for securing a place in the final. But Germany (6m) is again the undisputed champion of Europe and is clearly unstoppable… this year, next year and for many years to come.

Do you think England stands a chance of ever producing more vehicles than France, Spain, or Germany? Let us know in the comments below...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Chief columnist

Mike was one of the founding fathers of Auto Express in 1988. He's been motoring editor on four tabloid newspapers - London Evening News, The Sun, News of the World & Daily Mirror. He was also a weekly columnist on the Daily Telegraph, The Independent and The Sunday Times. 

Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Mercedes says ‘no thank you’ to EQ: EV brand to be axed
Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 - EQS badge
News

Mercedes says ‘no thank you’ to EQ: EV brand to be axed

Mercedes will roll back EQ branding for its electric cars as the first generation of EV models reaches the end of its lifecycle.
15 May 2024
UK faces “epidemic” of young uninsured drivers
Car crash
News

UK faces “epidemic” of young uninsured drivers

The number of young people convicted of driving without insurance has tripled since 2021, due to sky-rocketing premiums
17 May 2024
Skoda Scala vs Citroen C4 2024 twin test: which is the best-value family hatchback?
Skoda Scala and Citroen C4 - front tracking
Car group tests

Skoda Scala vs Citroen C4 2024 twin test: which is the best-value family hatchback?

The revised Skoda Scala takes on Citroen’s C4 in the battle to be the best-value family hatchback
18 May 2024