Official: Britain makes more fast, weird and clever cars than anywhere on Earth | Top Gear
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Official: Britain makes more fast, weird and clever cars than anywhere on Earth

The UK can claim to lead the world in silly and specialist vehicles, says a new report. Jolly good

Published: 20 Jul 2021
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Forgive us for getting just a tad patriotic here, what-what, but Britain is a world-leader in the global car industry again. That is, if you’re in the market for 200mph+ supercars, wheelchair-friendly taxis, camper-vans and hearses. Jolly good show.

According to a new report by the grown-up and ever-so-proper Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the UK can claim the most diverse low volume and specialist vehicle manufacturing sector in the world, it’s been announced.

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Sure, you might go to the Germans for sports saloons and luxury SUVs, to the Koreans for worthy family transport and America if you’d like to win drag races. But if you want a one-stop shop for your most particular motoring need, you’re gonna call the British.

Some 28,000 products are said to make up this blossoming sector, contributing £4bn to the UK economy every year and employing 15,000 people. 87 per cent of all specialist and low-volume vehicles made here in 2020 were exported overseas. You’re welcome, world.

The SMMT says: “A low volume manufacturer is typically defined as a producer of less than 10,000 vehicles globally per year. The products offered vary substantially, from supercars to accessible vehicles for the vulnerable.”

The likes of Lotus, building Britain’s first all-electric hypercar, and Morgan, Gordon Murray Automotive and LEVC – makers of the latest London taxi – are some of the names singled out in the comprehensive study.

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Efforts by the UK’s niche car outfits like Aston Martin and McLaren to assist in the Covid crisis have also been noted by the SMMT. “McLaren joined the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium, deploying the significant engineering capabilities of its staff to produce more than 13,000 medical ventilators” the report notes. “In doing so, [it] doubled the amount previously available to the NHS."

The report is good news for a sector that’s been battered by the global pandemic, and despite downturns in R&D and overall employment, it’s still the world’s biggest. We’ll drink a cup of tea to that.

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