The U.K. automotive industry’s annual revenues rose 8.8% last year to a record £69.5 billion ($109.3 billion).
And the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says the industry, on track to produce an annual record 1.95 million vehicles in the next two years, is demonstrating its ascendancy as a major global player.
SMMT’s 16th annual sustainability report confirms manufacturing output, vehicle sales, jobs and export values also grew in 2014, while the environmental impact from vehicle production has been reduced dramatically.
The report, first published in 1999, measures the U.K. automotive industry’s environmental and social performance, as well as its contribution to the nation’s economy.
The latest edition shows the industry built 1,598,879 vehicles last year, with car production rising to 1.53 million units, the highest level since 2007.
Investment in more efficient, high-tech manufacturing processes has led to huge gains in productivity, SMMT says.
In each of the five years to 2014, an average of 11.5 vehicles were produced for every person employed in the industry, compared with 9.3 vehicles for the period from 2005 to 2009.
Despite greater production volumes, environmental impact has been significantly reduced, the report says.
Total waste to landfill from all automotive production fell 26.3% in 2014, and 92.3% since 2000. Water use fell 10.7% and energy use 10.4%. Carbon-dioxide emissions per vehicle produced fell 5% year-on-year.
“Industry has also made considerable improvement to its already outstanding safety record with the number of workplace incidents per 1,000 employees falling to an all-time low of 2.2 – down 83.9% on 2002, when data was first collected,” SMMT says in a statement.
The report says large investments still are being committed to new and expanded U.K. production facilities, resulting in significant sector-wide recruitment, with an additional 27,000 jobs created in 2014, up 3.5% from prior-year.
The number of people employed in automotive, including manufacturing and retail, is put at 799,000, with the average worker responsible for generating £440,000 ($691,921) in turnover for the sector.
“Investment in skills has also been crucial, with employee training up by 35.2% and 500 new apprentices and trainees taken on by the sector last year,” the report says.
International demand for U.K.-made vehicles also continues to increase with total export value rising 1.8% to £34.6 billion ($53.1 billion), up 103.8% since 2000. It adds up to a considerable increase in the industry’s direct contribution to the region’s economy, rising 6.2% to £15.5 billion ($24.4 billion) last year.