Brexit Would Slam the Brakes on the UK’s Hugely Successful Car Industry

by Andrew Sentance

The car industry delivered some welcome good news about British manufacturing this week. Car production in April was up over 16pc on a year ago, contributing to an increase of over 10pc this year so far. Exports are leading the way, up by nearly a quarter on last year. In 2015, the UK exported over 1.2 million cars, an all-time record; we look likely to set another record this year.

The strong performance of the UK car industry stands out in contrast to the difficulties in some other manufacturing sectors, such as steel, at present. And this is not just a short-term blip. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the UK is on course to produce a total of over 2 million cars and light vans in 2020 – surpassing the previous production record of just over 1.9 million set back in 1972. If the current rate of growth is sustained, however, the UK could pass the 2 million production mark as early as 2018 – the year after next.

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