UK automotive boosts jobs and turnover

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The UK automotive industry is in excellent economic, environmental and social shape according to a new report published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Key indicators in the trade body's 15th annual Automotive Sustainability Report – which reveals figures from 2013 – have revealed significant improvements that tally with recent growth, investment and efforts to improve environmental performance by the UK's major vehicle and component manufacturers. In 2013, an estimated 44,000 new jobs were created across the automotive sector, of which 14,000 were in manufacturing. This growth was matched in domestic automotive manufacturing turnover which grew 10.3% to top £64 billion, fuelled by extensive investment in research and development – a key strength of the UK – which in itself grew 9.7% since 2012 to £1.9 billion a year. "The UK automotive industry contributes hugely to the country's economic health by building millions of vehicles, engines and components here every year and employing hundreds of thousands of people," said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. "The progress made by the industry over the past year alone is hugely important. Growing our skills base and encouraging more automotive suppliers to base their businesses in the UK is now essential for us to maintain this positive momentum." Industry analysts have suggested that by 2017 the UK could be building more than two million cars a year, breaking the record that has stood for more than 40 years. With continued investment from the world's biggest automotive brands, the future looks bright for the sector – but the rate of growth and demand for specialist skills has put manufacturers under enormous pressure to recruit and up-skill staff. Meanwhile, the BMW plant in Oxford has seen production of the first as the new MINI 5-door Hatch comes off the production line (pictured). The new 5-door is a first for MINI production at the Oxford plant and marks another phase in the roll-out of a £750 million investment programme across BMW Group UK's production facilities from 2011 to 2015.