The United Kingdom has always been a major focal point for the global automotive industry with some of the most iconic brands being designed and built across the country.

Which cars are manufactured in the UK? Well, there have been many different makes and models over the years. Legendary vehicles produced in the UK include the likes of the Bentley Blower, the Jaguar E-Type, the MINI, the McLaren F1, the Ford GT40, the Lotus Elise, the Morris Minor and the Ford Escort Mk1.

During the 1950s, the UK was the second-largest manufacturer of cars in the world and the largest exporter. In subsequent decades, there has been a decline in growth and a number of UK car manufacturers have been bought by foreign companies.

After the 2008 recession, the UK automotive industry then began to rebuild its reputation. It produced over 1.7 million cars in 2017 and was ranked 13th in a list of leading car producers worldwide in 2019.

Fast forward a couple more years and both Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic have understandably had an effect on British car brands and production. In 2020, the total number of cars produced in the UK slumped to 921,000. But in 2021, things improved ever so slightly. In the first seven months of 2021, UK production of British-built cars was up by 18% compared with the first seven months of 2020.

How many car manufacturers are in the UK? At present, there are around 30 manufacturers building in excess of 70 car models in the UK. Eight out of 10 cars produced are exported overseas to over 160 markets.

Top 5 Cars made in the UK

Throughout the peaks and troughs over the years, British car manufacturers will always be something to celebrate. Today, the UK is a mid-ranking car manufacturer with Tata/Jaguar Land Rover the biggest producer of all UK car companies.

Here, we’ve chosen our top five cars that are manufactured in the UK today – in no particular order.

  1. Land Rover Discovery
  2. Jaguar F-type Coupe
  3. Nissan Qashqai
  4. Aston Martin DBX
  5. MINI Hatchback

1. Land Rover Discovery

Jaguar and Land Rover are both hugely important car brands that are representative of British automotive manufacturing. The two have been co-owned since 2008 by the Indian company, Tata Motors.

All Land Rover and Range Rover models (including the Range Rover Evoque) and Jaguar cars are built at the group’s three main UK plants in Castle Bromwich, Halewood and Solihull. In 2020, the plants produced a combined 243,908 cars.

One of our favourites is the Land Rover Discovery, manufactured at the brand’s Halewood plant in Liverpool. Comfortable, stylish and versatile on the road, this luxury SUV transitions from the motorway to a muddy field with ease. Across its 5 trims, the MPG range varies from 25.1-34.4mpg and its powerful 3.0-litre P360 engine gets from 0-62mph in just 6.5 seconds.

Best Features
  • Stylish design
  • Versatile on the road
  • Strong performance
  • Fuel economy: 25.1-34.4mpg
  • Insurance groups: 33-43

2. Jaguar F-type Coupe

Jaguar started as a British company but was bought by Tata Motors along with Land Rover in 2008. Historically, the brand started out making sidecars for motorcycles in Blackpool but then became synonymous with luxury sedans, SUVs and sports cars.

As well as the Land Rover Discovery, the sporty-looking Jaguar F-type Coupe is another of our favourite cars from the Jaguar Land Rover Limited group. Manufactured at the Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham, this luxurious coupe is fun to drive and beautiful to look at.

Across its 4 trims, its MPG range varies from 26.1-29.7mpg and its 0-62mph figure is just 5.7 seconds. Launched in 2014, the F-Type is comfortable, responsive, light to steer, thrilling to handle and undeniably desirable.

Best Features
  • Stylish and sporty
  • Luxurious design
  • Fun to drive
  • Fuel economy: 26.1-29.7mpg
  • Insurance groups: 41-50

3. Nissan Qashqai

Nissan is a Japanese automobile manufacturer with a plant located in Sunderland. The plant opened in 1986, employs over 6,000 workers and supports over 70,000 jobs in the supply chain.

Despite some recent uncertainty as a result of Brexit trade agreements, the Japanese car manufacturer confirmed its commitment to continue production in Sunderland earlier this year. This includes the likes of the Micra and Qashqai — the latter which represents one in five of all cars built in Britain since it launched 14 years ago.

Manufactured in Sunderland, the Qashqai is a crossover SUV that’s comfortable, compact and relatively economical to run. It was a trailblazer for mainstream family SUVs and boasts a large boot. The Qashqai has a 40.2-44.9mpg range and its front-wheel-drive auto version reaches 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds.

Best Features
  • Compact and comfortable
  • Spacious boot
  • Economical to run
  • Fuel economy: 40.2-44.9mpg
  • Insurance groups: 13-20

4. Aston Martin DBX

Aston Martin is a quintessentially British car company. Located at Gaydon village in 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 brand’s sports cars and grand tourers are produced in Gaydon. But the brand’s recently unveiled Aston Martin DBX SUV (the first model of its kind for the brand) is produced at a 90-acre facility in St. Athan village in South Wales.

The DBX is an all-wheel-drive crossover with a 0-62mph time of 4.5 seconds. It’s refined, luxurious and practical, seating five passengers in comfort and delivering genuine 4×4 credentials. But all of that comes at a cost. Not only is the DBX expensive to buy, but its claimed fuel economy is also just 19.73mpg.

Best Features
  • Refined and luxurious
  • Supreme passenger comfort
  • Practical on the road
  • Fuel economy: 19.73mpg
  • Insurance group: 50

5. MINI Hatchback

The quintessentially British brand MINI might have been bought out by BMW back in 2000, but its iconic hatchback models and the Clubman Estate is still built on British soil – in Cowley, Oxford to be exact.

Stylish and fun to drive, the MINI originally launched in 1959 and went on to become one of the most iconic small cars of the 1960s. The new MINI Hatchback launched in 2001 not long after BMW’s takeover – this time with a funkier aesthetic and further hints of Britishness (some models sported Union Jack headlights, for example).

The MINI’s latest mid-life update took place in 2018 and the retro vehicle still excites its fan base. It’s reasonably fuel-efficient with the entry-level 1.5-litre petrol returning a maximum of 52.3mpg. Its fastest model is the MINI John Cooper Works GP, boasting a 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds.

Best Features
  • Stylish and iconic
  • Reasonably fuel-efficient
  • Fun to drive
  • Fuel economy: 52.3mph
  • Insurance groups: 11-37

From the versatile Land Rover Discovery and sporty Aston Martin DBX, to the practical Nissan Qashqai and iconic MINI Hatchback, there are many incredible cars manufactured in the UK.

Get your hands on a piece of history by shopping for your next car at motors.co.uk – we sell used cars made in Britain and beyond!