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China to credit for British car industry's new record

2015-03-18 13:26 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

The British car industry is expected to manufactured more cars in 2017 than its previous record high in 1972, as the continuing growth of export markets such as China and the increasing interest in UK's cars boosts production, said the country's car industry body on Monday.

British car makers are expected to manufacture around 1.95 million vehicles in 2017, exceeding the current record of 1,921,311 set in 1972, said Michael Hawes, chief executive at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Limited (SMMT), at a media briefing.

Data showed that Britain has seen consecutive growth in car manufacturing over the past three years. Last year, the country produced 1.53 million vehicles.

When answering a question from Xinhua during a group interview, Hawes said the expectation depended on whether the exports markets continued to grow, including the main markets like Europe and Asia, especially China.

Meanwhile, the other main contributors to the merry picture would be the strong growth of the domestic market, growing investment and increasing interests in British models abroad, added Hawes.

Hawes stressed that China is currently the UK's largest single export market for cars. Compared with 2009, the volume of exports to China increased by 608 percent to reach 137,410 in 2014, according to Hawes.

Earlier this year, Bentley Motors announced that China was acting as the main engine behind the car maker's sales growth, with 2,670 cars delivered in 2014, higher than the previous year of 2,191.

Jaguar Land Rover, another British luxury car brand owned by India's Tata Motors, sold 122,010 cars in China last year, up 28 percent from 2013. The company also cited the Chinese market as the primary reason for its fifth successive year of growth in global sales.

The automotive industry is vital to the British economy; it contributes an annual turnover of over 60 billion pounds (88.43 billion U.S. dollars). Around 770,000 jobs depend on the industry. Exports markets are also critical to its development, as the industry exports 80 percent of its vehicles every year, data from SMMT showed.

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