London - A record number of cars were exported from the UK last year, up 2.7% on 2014 levels.
In all, 1,227,881 units left the UK, representing 77.3% of total production.
In addition, UK manufacturers made more cars in 2015 than any year since 2005 when 1,595,697 vehicles were produced, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
European Union demand grew 11.3%, with 57.5% of exports destined for the continent.
In the US, demand rose by more than a quarter (26.5%), making it the UK’s biggest trading destination outside the EU, ahead of China.
Meanwhile, notable growth was also seen in Australia, South Korea, Turkey and Japan with volumes up 53.7%, 55.2%, 41.1% and 35.4% respectively.
SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: “Despite export challenges in some key markets such as Russia and China, foreign demand for British-built cars has been strong, reaching record export levels in the past year.
“Continued growth in an intensely competitive global marketplace is far from guaranteed, however, and depends heavily on global economic conditions and political stability. Europe is our biggest trading partner and the UK’s membership of the European Union is vital for the automotive sector in order to secure future growth and jobs.”
UK chancellor George Osborne added: “Backing Britain’s car industry has been a priority for this government and today we see the industry going from strength to strength.
“I am hugely encouraged that manufacturing is at a 10-year high and exports are at a record level. All this means jobs and the security of a pay packet for workers and their families.
“Our plans to rebalance the economy mean we have to continue to build on our great manufacturing strengths in the Midlands and the North of England, and work together to ensure that Britain continues to prosper as a global leader in car production.”