Blog: Graeme RobertsRule Britannia

Graeme Roberts | 6 August 2014

The new Mini hatchback on the line at BMW

The new Mini hatchback on the line at BMW's Oxford plant. The majority of the factory's output is exported worldwide

It really does get tiresome when some (deep breath, choose words carefully) 'uninformed' person tells me the UK doesn't have a car industry any more. We do, albeit mostly foreign owned.

While market leader Ford schleps its Top 10 perennial Fiesta and Focus sales chart toppers in from Europe, with a few engines going the other way in an attempt at some trade balance, further down the charts, British plants account for quite a few, too.

Like the 4,729 Nissan Qashqais built in Sunderland sold here in July (30,919 year to date), the 4,267 Ellesmere Port-assembled Vauxhall Astras (36,578) or the 2,384 Oxford origin Minis (many with Brit engines - made near Birmingham - in 'em as well).

And, given that up to 80% of some plants' output is exported, you can bet that many thousands more, in train-, truck- and ship-loads, all left Blightly last month, too.

In some cases, British plants are sole sources - you drive an Astra wagon (also available in Opel) or a Honda Civic hatchback, it was Made in England.

It's been another good month for UK sales (after September's vote, Scotland may be our newest export market) but, as we note today, trade body SMMT is sounding a note of caution for the rest of the year. Forecast is still up though.

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