LONDON – China remained as the third biggest export destination for cars and SUVs made in the UK in 2016 behind the European Union and the U.S., accounting for about 6.5 percent of all British-built cars exported in the year, according to data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) on January 26.
More than 88,000 Chinese car buyers chose British brands in 2016 – all of them from the premium sector, up 3.1 percent from 2015 after falling 37.5 percent the previous year. The top 5 British bestsellers in China were the Range Rover Sport, Land Rover Discovery, Jaguar F Pace, Mini and Range Rover.
Global appetite for British-built cars rose by 10.3 percent to an all-time high of 1,354,216 units bound for 160 markets worldwide, a second consecutive annual record. That accounts for nearly 80 percent of the 1,722,698 vehicles that rolled off production lines from some 15 manufacturers, the highest output since 1999.
“China remains a vitally important market for the UK automotive industry, as well as a crucial trading partner in terms of materials and components – relationships we wish to see thrive in the future,” said Mike Hawes, CEO of SMMT.
Some 30 manufacturers build more than 70 vehicle models in the UK and the automotive industry there creates about £71.6 billion in annual turnover.