Outlook And now for the good news: today’s figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. They reveal that since the start of the decade the UK car industry has exported five million vehicles. That is the best performance for any decade on record.
From the mid 1980s, when exports accounted for less than 20 per cent of the million or so cars rolling off production lines in this country, the tide has turned. Today of the 924,000 cars produced here so far this year 728,000, or 79 per cent, were exported.
Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that the average value of each exported car has more than doubled from £10,200 in 2004 to £20,600 in 2014. That is largely thanks to the success of upmarket, high-spec marques such as Land Rover, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce.
By contrast the average family car bought in this country has barely risen in price at all over that period. But at the same time their specifications in terms of performance and safety have improved markedly. The only pity is that almost all of those are imported.