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The UK Automotive industry turns over £78 billion, manufacturing over 1.3 million cars in 2019 and providing 179,000 jobs in the automotive manufacturing industry

The Automotive Industry in the UK 

The UK has the highest productivity of major European car producers and specialist engineering consultancies, putting the nation at the cutting edge of the automotive industry.


As a global leader in pioneering research, the UK helps shape the future of mobility and leads developments in connected, autonomous, shared and electric transport.


In 2019, the UK turnover in the Automotive sector exceeded £78 billion and exports totalled £44 billion, with more than 3 million cars built and £3 billion invested in R&D. Over 180,000 people are employed in automotive manufacturing in vehicle plants and the components’ supply chain.

As part of its Industrial Strategy, the UK Government recently announced an Automotive Sector Deal, building on the partnership between the Government and industry that has been in place since the Automotive Council was established in 2009.


It ensures that the UK continues to reap the benefits from the transition to zero-emission vehicles by developing the cost-competitive, innovative supply chain needed to secure inward investment.

Hear from the CEO of Aston Martin, Andy Palmer, talk about the opportunities that are available within the UK Automotive industry.

Discover more at, Invest in GREAT.

Here are the top 5 facts you need to know about UK automotive:

The UK exported 1,237,608 cars in 2018, 78% of its automotive output


160 markets import UK-built vehicles


There are more than 25,000 public electric charging points across the UK

823,000 people work in the UK automotive sector


Six out of ten Formula 1 teams have headquarters in the UK, as does Formula-E.


The Automotive sector in the Thames Valley is strengthened by the BMW Mini plant. Manufactured to individual customer specifications, hundreds of MINIs leave the assembly line daily, shipped to more than 110 countries around the world.


Three UK plants have played major roles in the production of the MINI – Plant Hams Hall makes the engines and Plant Swindon produces body pressings and sub-assemblies. They are then bought together at Plant Oxford where body shell production, paint and final assembly takes place.


Whilst more than 2.5 million cars have been made at Plant Oxford since production of the new MINI started in 2001, the plant’s heritage goes back much further than that. The site has a 100 years of automotive manufacturing history.


Software for autonomous vehicles is a critical part on the automotive sector in the 21st century with Oxbotica leading the world in this field.


A company spun out from the University of Oxford in 2014 to develop a ‘brain’ for driverless cars has since won a Financial Times ArcelorMittal Boldness in Business Award, and were supported by Innovate UK.


Oxbotica’s system uses cameras and lasers to precisely pinpoint on a map, regardless of weather and lighting conditions, without using GPS.  It uses a complement of sensors and algorithms to identify and track pedestrians, cars and other obstacles in the environment, transporting users safely to their destination.

Read more about Oxbotica and the University of Oxford’s Guide to AI in our Inward Investment Report 2018/19 – Download HERE.

Diamond Synchrotron 

To keep ahead of the competition, the automotive industry must identify and realise innovative research developments in chemistry, materials science and engineering. A deep understanding of fundamental processes such as catalysis and detailed knowledge of material properties on the molecular scale is vital.


Automotive research in the UK is therefore further strengthened by access to the Thames Valley’s Diamond Synchrotron.

YASA Motors

Oxford Brookes University has considerable expertise in fuel efficiency and low emission engines. Indeed, their expertise is put to good use is a collaborative R&D project with YASA Motors, which enabled them to prepare for mass production in a market that is predicted to be worth £15bn by 2020.


YASA manufactures a highly differentiated advanced axial flux motor and generator based on its proprietary Yokeless and Segmented Armature (YASA™) technology. For a given power and torque requirement, it can deliver a significantly smaller and lighter electric motor than any other competing technology. Due to its exceptionally high utilisation of magnetic material the technology has an inherently lower cost than competitor motors.


The high-performance YASA motors and generators are suitable for range of markets and applications excelling in the toughest environments where weight and space are critical for the end-user.