SMMT: Japanese Demand for British Built Cars Increases 77pc in First Six Months of 2018

Aug 07, 2018

LONDON: Demand in Japan for British-built cars rose by more than three quarters in the first six months of 2018, according to the latest figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Increasing popularity of the UK's desirable range of premium, luxury and sports cars, helped drive UK automotive exports, which, although down by a marginal -0.8%, accounted for more than eight out of every 10 cars produced.

A total of 834,402 vehicles rolled off UK production lines from January to June, a -3.3% decrease on the same period in 2017 as the domestic market was affected by a range of factors, including tax changes and uncertainty over future policies on diesel. The UK Government's acknowledgement in its Road to Zero Strategy that this advanced technology will have a critical role to play for years to come should help restore confidence over the coming months.

Meanwhile, export demand for UK cars now represents 80.9% of all UK car output. In the first six months, global demand grew in a number of markets, notably India (+83%), South Korea (+67.8%) and the USA (+1.5%), while China maintained its position as the UK's third biggest customer after the EU and US, taking 6.4% of exports. Although cars built for EU customers fell -3.6% in the first half of the year, Europe remained the UK's biggest trading partner, accounting for more than half of all cars exported (53.4%). EU countries individually make up half of UK Automotive's top 10 export destinations, highlighting the importance of continued free and frictionless trade.

However, the biggest growth was seen in Japan - the UK's second largest Asian market behind China. Exports to Japan saw huge growth in the first half of 2018, up 77.3%, as more Japanese motorists took advantage of premium models, for which the UK is renowned. 22,441 British-built cars were shipped to the country last year, with buyers taking 3.3% of all exports - up from 1.9% the previous year. At the same time, 68,545 UK car buyers chose Japanese-built cars, accounting for one in 20 new cars registered on British roads.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, "World class engineering, premium products, government collaboration and huge investment have helped UK Automotive become a global success story. Our relationship with Japan goes back many years and is built on our mutual commitment to trade and investment so the recent signing of the EU-Japan Free Trade Deal was welcome news. For the UK to benefit from open trade post-Brexit, however, we need long-term agreements with both the EU and Japan." (PRN)

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