UK car production hit a six-year high in 2013 as the number of vehicles rolling off the line topped 1.5 million.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) hailed "surging" demand at home and abroad, with vehicles rolling off a production line every 20 seconds, new figures have revealed.
Production increased by 3.1 per cent in 2013, with analysts predicting that output would reach record levels of around two million by 2017.
SMMT said the UK was set to become the third largest car manufacturer in Europe after Germany and Spain.
Four out of five cars built in the UK last year were exported, with strong demand reported in China, the United States and Russia.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "2013 demonstrated the value of the UK's diverse car manufacturing industry, as surging home demand and robust exports outside Europe saw output grow 3.1 per cent to over 1.5 million units.
"UK automotive investment announcements exceeded £2.5 billion in 2013, reinforcing industry analysts' suggestions that the UK could break all-time car output records within the next four years."
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Today's figures are another sign that the British car industry is going from strength to strength, with one vehicle rolling off a production line somewhere in the UK every 20 seconds.
"Our success lies in the appetite from countries around the world for British cars.
"Around 80 per cent of the 1.5 million cars we produced last year were exported - a testament to the diverse, high quality of British manufacturing.
Nissan built the most cars - over half a million - at its plant in Sunderland last year, followed by Land Rover (340,000), Toyota (179,000), Mini (174,000), Honda (138,000), Jaguar (78,000) and Vauxhall (73,000).
The news comes a day after Nissan's new Qashqai model came off the production line, which has helped create 500 new jobs in Sunderland, where the workforce is set to increase to over 7,000 for the first time.
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