By on June 13, 2013

The UK, infamous for having lost most of its former automaking glory, and supplier of the short-lived “American Leyland” moniker for GM (“Government Motors” stuck) is roaring back. The island nation is set “to overtake France as Europe’s second largest automotive producer within the next five years if UK car sales and exports maintain current strong growth,” Reuters says.

Imagine the embarrassment in Paris!

“All the indications appear to be saying yes Britain will be second in a few years,” Tim Abbott, managing director of German carmaker BMW’s UK operations told the wire service. “It will be about the demand for the cars made in the UK but that looks to be there judging by the recent performance of the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan and BMW.”

Last year 1.5 million cars were produced in Britain, compared to 1.9 million in France, according to ACEA data.. Volumes are slipping France, and is rising at Britain’s eight main car plants. Britain could hit 2 million by 2018. Europe’s biggest producer, Germany, made 5.5 million vehicles last year, about half of them exported.

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25 Comments on “Blamage! UK To Outproduce France...”


  • avatar
    BerlinDave

    Will they all be equipped with Lucas (Prince of Darkness and the inventor of the self dimming headlight) electric systems?

  • avatar

    Most of these Manufactures are Foreign owned, there is one niche maker that makes Cars from Wood and some even have only three wheels,this to avoid the Tax!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I’m glad someone mentioned it. This auto manufacturing (of foreign brands) is much different than the glory days of UK manufacturing of UK brands.

      Ain’t no Sunbeam when she’s gone.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Sounds better to me.

        Poor quality products bashed together in an ancient unsafe plant against a backdrop of perpetual insolvency and labor strife isn’t something to be nostalgic for, regardless of whose name is on the building.

        Better to be making competitive high-quality cars in a modern facility with a well-capitalized owner, even if that owner is headquartered in Japan.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      Cane here to say this.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      Morgan’s use of ash wood as a framing material for it’s bodies is a hold over from traditional coachbuilding, but their cars use steel for their chassis and crash structures. There’s very little wood in the cars, more and more what little is there is done for the sake of tradition rather than any real need. Also, Reliant went out of business in 2002, so no more British 3 wheelers.

  • avatar
    stroker49

    Europes second largest! Bigger than Tchechia?

  • avatar
    TR4

    The U.K. was the second largest auto producer in the WORLD from around 1930 to 1960. Long way to go to get back there…

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      The UK became the world’s second largest auto producer AFTER WWII. Starting around 1950 the UK became the world’s largest auto exporter as well….in 1947 the government began rationing of steel, large quantities of steel was limited to firms that generated at least 75% of its revenues through export. The UK remained the second largest auto producer until the late 60s or early 70s, as best as I can recall.

  • avatar

    The Plant in Northern England that makes Nissan cars has the advantage making vehicles with right hand drive, thus these Cars can be sold to Japan and other Countries that use this system and produce them at a cheaper rate than a lot of Countries.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Interesting, but 5 years is a long way off. Carmageddon was only 4 years ago.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    The French are EASY to over take (short work week with a poor work ethic) and EASY to take over…Just ask the Germans…

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Not much has been spoken on France.

    The French has much more restrictive workforce regulations. Flexibility is the answer.

    Look at Detroit, since the UAW has allowed workers to operate under more flexible workplace arrangements Detroit has improved.

    Michigan and Detroit should have an open shop policy, in other words remove compulsory unionism. Then Michigan/Detroit has a better chance of reviving its golden age. Or just let more foreign manufacturers into the US. It’s working in the UK.

    The French will change, after a lot of screaming and crying. Also the French have never infiltrated exports markets as successfully as the Germans or even the British.

    In the 50s and 60s when Britain was the 2nd largest exporter of motor vehicles it still had close relations, both political and economic with its former colonies. This is not the case now.

    The foreign (global) manufactures in Britain are giving it an edge over the French as well.

    Maybe the French government should sell off all of its commercial interests. Let the private sector have more input France’s economic direction.

    As we know government intervention in economies mainly panders to the big and powerful ie Unions and business. Then inefficiencies set in, look at Japan, UK, US etc.

    Free up the auto industry and let innovation and better management drive the business.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    A lot can happen in 5 years. Remember how this website was predicting GM’s and Chrysler’s demise less than 5 years ago?

    The Brit’s are so pathetic, the French navy is going to have provide planes and pilots for the UK’S aircraft carriers. Transplant car production is nothing to brag about it’s kind of thirdworldlike, sort of like Kentucky, Alabama, Thailand or Mexico.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @billfrombuckhead
      And Detroit is a fine example of a great city?

    • 0 avatar
      Charliej

      Bill, please don’t equate Mexico with Alabama. I lived in Alabama for sixty five years. Now, I live in Mexico and much prefer it to Alabama. Mexico has a future, the south seems to be trying to return to the past.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        People vote with their feet and the landslide returns are in.

        For every exception like yourself hundreds of thousands (or millions) move from Mexico to the USA – and the South is outperforming Northern states. When the party that destroyed Detroit controlled the South it was indeed backward but that is becoming less true every year. Now CA, for the first time in its entire history as a state, is a net exporter of people.

        I suspect that at the age of 65+ you didn’t move to Mexico because it “has a future” so much as it’s a cheaper place to spend you Social Security dollars. You have sorta “offshored” your retirement to take advantage of the relatively poor economic situation of the average Mexican.

        • 0 avatar
          Charliej

          You are right about it being a cheaper place to live. However, it is the future, the US is the past. The US can’t even take care of it’s crumbling infrastructure. Here, there are new roads being built everywhere. There is a high speed rail link being built between Guadalajara and Mexico City. A number of new car plants are coming on line in the next year of two. The rush of people to the US has stopped. The US is no longer seen as the promised land. According to the US State Department, there re now over one million US citizens living in Mexico. Probably most are here because of the cost of living, but there are a large number living and working here. Don’t denigrate Mexico until you have spent some time here. Once you have spent time here, you are unlikely to denigrate Mexico. It is really a great place to live.

    • 0 avatar
      Vance Torino

      Marysville, Ohio was the first Transplant Factory, building the Honda Accord in 1982.
      Now Central Ohio is delegated to design, engineer, and build a world class supercar, the Acura NSX.
      In a Global Economy, it’s about education and training.
      And Japan, Inc. is now confident enough to sink billions into a highly motivated, land grant educated workforce.
      Something to think about, given the Germans seem to have that confidence in the British working on their best products.

      • 0 avatar
        schmitt trigger

        Blamage? I would say: Merde!

        France itself is losing many manufacturing jobs because the French companies are outsourcing them to former French colonies, specifically in North Africa.

        The French Unions will have to have an UAW-style reckoning any time soon. That is, if they want to survive.

  • avatar
    Joss

    IKE threatened Eden with a run on the pound during Suez. Would help UK exports nicely now. Little hope for France – Hollande is stale already.


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