The number of cars built in the UK increased by 5.8% to more than 1.3 million last year, with record exports driving the growth, new figures showed today.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said engine production also rose, by 4.9% to 2.5 million, despite a "modest" fall in December.
Chief executive Paul Everitt said: "UK vehicle and engine production continues to lead the manufacturing recovery, with increased output and exports taking a record-breaking share.
"In 2011, vehicle manufacturers renewed their commitment to the UK, securing new model programmes, facilities and jobs for the long term.
"It is essential that industry and Government continue to work in partnership to maximise the opportunities at all levels of the UK supply chain and encourage more investment in research and development, skills and new plant and machinery."
Business minister Mark Prisk said: "The global vehicle market grew by around 4% in 2011. At the same time, UK vehicle production grew by nearly 6% demonstrating how the UK has out-performed the market this year.
"Exports of UK-made cars and commercial vehicles have also risen from 75% to over 80% of total production to meet this growing demand.
"We have some of the best plants in the UK that are amongst the most productive in Europe. Multibillion-pound investment and the creation of new jobs in the automotive sector demonstrates that the UK can successfully compete for business across the world."
A total of 1,343,810 cars were built last year, with 1,124,676 for export, 83% of the total, and 219,134 for the home market.
Exports were up by 17% over the year, while production for UK sales fell by 29%, the SMMT reported.
Commercial vehicle output fell by 1.4% in 2011 to 121,312.