SMMT’s latest report, titled Specialist car manufacturing – a uniquely British success story, highlights some of the challenges currently facing the UK’s low-volume automotive industry, alongside opportunities for growth. Collaborative support between industry, government and stakeholders is crucial to maintain and grow this handful of unique, world-renowned brands. Specialist automotive companies had a cumulative turnover last year of £2.5 billion, with a 10,000 strong workforce producing almost 25,000 vehicles, (over two-thirds of which were exported).
Commenting on the report, SMMT’s Chief Executive, Paul Everitt stated:
“The UK is home to more specialist car manufacturers than any other country, including some of the world’s most iconic and prestigious brands. Theses marques boast a strong brand heritage, enviable motorsport pedigree and display a world leading use of innovative new technologies.”
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The published report contains statistics from 20 of the UK’s largest specialist auto-manufacturers, each of which represents the height of innovation, prestige, performance and engineering skills. The report also sought to dispel the myth that specialist car manufacturers only produce sports cars, mentioning the many other vehicles being produced, such as small city cars, taxis, limousines, hearses and specially-modified one-offs.
The panel included representatives such as Aston Martin’s Chief Commercial Officer, Michael van der Sande, Managing Director of McLaren Automotive, Antony Sheriff and Managing Director of Radical Sportscars, Phil Abbott. All those involved drew attention to their own specialist manufacturing companies, commenting on the engineering expertise, heritage and engineering innovation of each.
Speaking after the discussion, Business Minister Mark Prisk said:
“We have one of the most diverse automotive sectors in the world. Although dominated by global vehicle manufacturers, we have many strong and thriving specialist and niche marques. With production up, exports up and exceeding the value of imports, automotive is a UK success story.”
To commemorate the event, SMMT has put together an exclusive exhibition at its London office featuring some of the sectors varied success stories, including:
· Aston Martine One-77 – one of only 77 built, at a cost of £1.2 million each
· Bentley Mulsanne cutaway instrument panel –a unique opportunity to look inside the multimedia system of Bentley’s flagship model
· McLaren Automotive Carbon MonoCell –The carbon fibre chassis tub of McLaren’s MP4-12C
· Morgan Plus-E – Prototype electric version of Morgan’s classic model
· Radical SR3-SL – Radical’s first fully approved road car