Ten-year high for UK car production

Ten-year high for UK car production

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has released figures that show the British car industry's output hit a ten-year high last year.

Although the news is good for the UK economy's recovery process, the numbers were actually lower than had been forecast, in part due to decreasing demand in Russia and China.

Highest since 2005

The highest production output for the car industry in the country since 2005 saw 1.59 million cars roll off the factory lines last year.

The overall total was helped by a 9% rise in the number of models produced by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), which went on to beat Nissan for the title of Britain's biggest automaker.

Currency effect

Warnings were issued by Nissan manufacturing chief in Europe, Colin Lawther, who explained his company's 4.7% drop in output at its north of England plant last year as being caused by international trading pressures.

Telling reporters that Russia, which was its most important foreign destination in 2014, was now "impossible" to export to, Lawther went on to say: "Russia used to be our biggest market and because of the currency effect we stopped shipping cars into Russia."

The weakening of the rouble over the last 18 months has come about in part due to the collapse in crude oil prices and also because of Western sanctions being imposed.

British exports rose 2.7% overall in 2015, but the number exported to China, which is the UK's third-biggest auto market, fell sharply due to the country's own economic problems causing a drop in demand. 

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