The UK has always been a major focal point for the global automotive industry. During the 1950s, the UK was the second largest manufacturer of cars in the world and the largest exporter, with some of the most iconic brands being designed and built across the country. In subsequent decades, there has been a decline in growth and a number of UK car brands have been bought by foreign companies. However, since the 2008 recession, the UK automotive industry has rebuilt its reputation and is currently experiencing a renaissance, with a record year for cars sales in 2015. To celebrate this positive upturn, we’ve chosen our top five cars that are manufactured in the UK today.
Nissan is a Japanese automobile manufacturer with a plant located in Sunderland. The plant opened in 1986 and employs over 6,000 workers. Producing around 10,000 cars a week, the Sunderland site is one of the most productive car plants in the UK and is a prime example of the resurgence in British manufacturing. The Qashqai, Micra and Note are all manufactured in the UK and Nissan announced in March 2015 that it will also be manufacturing its new small hatchback in Sunderland. Batteries for Nissan’s electric vehicles are manufactured at the plant, with a further £265m investment announced in January.
2. Caterham Cars
Caterham Cars is a British manufacturer of specialist lightweight sports cars. Its headquarters are located in Crawley, Sussex, with a factory in Dartford. One of Caterham’s most famous vehicles is the Seven sports car. This is a two-seater open top car and was first manufactured in 1973 after the design rights were bought from Lotus, and it still remains a popular car today. Not necessarily a car for day-to-day use, the Seven is perfect for a leisurely weekend drive, offering a thrilling ride with rapid acceleration.
Although Rolls Royce is owned by BMW, a German company, it is built in the UK. The cars are manufactured at the company's plant in Goodwood, West Sussex. The company has a rich British history, formerly being nationally owned the British government. The Goodwood plant employs around 1,400 workers and produces up to 20 cars every day. Rolls-Royce provides luxury, comfort and class in all its vehicles and has achieved excellent success in recent years, with record sales in 2014.
4. Jaguar Land Rover
We’ve combined Jaguar and Land Rover due to the two brands being co-owned since 2002. Both are hugely important and representative of British automotive manufacturing. The group is owned by Indian company Tata, with all Land Rover and Range Rover models built in plants in Solihull and Halewood, and Jaguar cars built in the West Midlands. Jaguar Land Rover sold 487,065 vehicles around the world in 2015, breaking its global sales record and achieving growth for the sixth successive year. The company has just put in planning applications for expansion at its Castle Bromwich and Whitley sites, with the latter potentially generating an additional 4,000 jobs.
5. Aston Martin
Aston Martin is a quintessentially British brand. Located in Gaydon, Warwickshire, Aston Martin builds a range of sports, GT and supercars. Many of these cars have featured in the James Bond franchise and have helped to make Aston Martin synonymous with all things British. The manufacturing process takes time, with detail and quality being paramount. A massive 200 man-hours are involved in building each Vanquish, DB9, Rapide S, V12 Vantage S and V8 Vantage.