A total of 1,649, 789 new vehicles were built in the United Kingdom last year, down 8.5%. Of those, 1,242,312 or 75.3% were exported, with volume down 5.6% year on year.

Production for the domestic market of 407,477 was off 16.5%.

The UK built 1,442,085 cars, down 9.7%, and exported 76.7%, or 1,106,093, down 6.7%. The home market took 335,992, down 18.3%.

Commercial vehicle production in 2006 totalled 207,704 units, up 0.5%. Of these, 65.6%, or 136,219, went abroad, up 4.6%.

Home market production fell 6.5% to 71,485.

“As host to eight volume car manufacturers and more specialist car makers than any other European country, the UK remains a key supplier to world demand,” said SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan.

“However, although in 2006 we saw increased investment in the British motor industry by some global motor giants, it was not enough to offset the impact of continued restructuring across the production base.”

“Production of commercial vehicles in the UK increased slightly in 2006 – with an increase in exports driving growth,” he added.

“Heavy commercials slowed but the market remains stable with van output staying buoyant due to sustained demand for light commercial vehicles in Europe.”