Automotive exports from the UK to Asia increased by 21% in 2017, the greatest growth of any region according to a report by manufacturers’ association Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).
Asia now accounts for over one fifth of all automotive exports from the UK, but the group said the EU remains the sector’s “most important export market” – with 45% of exports destined for the region.
The EEF said the West Midlands remains the “beating heart of the industry”, as it is responsible for a 50% of output and 36% turnover. Automotive manufacturers also employed 159,000 people across the UK in 2017 – a 3.9% increase from 2015.
During the year the automotive sector contributed £16.5bn in GVA to the UK economy – representing a growth of 1.2% – and making it the third largest manufacturing sector in the UK. The sector also generated £78bn in turnover in 2017.
A statement by the group read: “The automotive sector has been one of the most productive UK manufacturing sectors over the last 20 years. Indeed in the period between 1995 and 2015, output per hour increased by a huge 90%. Furthermore since the financial crisis the sector’s productivity growth has been the strongest of any sector, increasing by 61% since 2008.
“Despite the impressive growth, the sector is still lagging behind some of our international competitors in terms of productivity, with our German counterparts in particular outperforming us. There are a number of possible reasons posited for this, for instance the size of German motor vehicle firms, which in 2015 were seven times larger in terms of employees than the average UK automotive firm.”