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Record exports last year lifted production within the UK automotive industry to its highest level since 2007, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) announced today.
UK factories built 1.46 million cars in 2012, the SMMT said, of which 1.21 million were shipped abroad.
Production was up 9% and exports 8%, despite the fact that separate data on Wednesday showed car sales in the EU hit a 17-year low last year.
The largely foreign-owned car industry has been one of the few bright spots in the British economy, which needs all the help it can get to avoid a third period of contraction since the 2008 financial crisis.
On Sunday Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India's Tata Motors, said that it plans to create 800 jobs at a factory in central England to help it to meet rising demand for its premium cars in China and elsewhere.
Although more than 80% of cars manufactured in the UK are exported, production figures were boosted by strong domestic demand.
Total new car registrations in the UK rose 5.3% in 2012, according to separate data from the SMMT, helping to drive up domestic demand for UK-manufactured cars by 15%.
Of the UK's car exports in 2012, 50% went to other parts of the EU, with another 15% going to the rest of Europe, 16% went to Asia (of which 8% to China) and 13% to the US, the SMMT said.
The outlook for 2013 remains positive, with demand in many faster-growing global markets offsetting the continued weakness in European economies.
For more information on the UK automotive industry, see the latest research: UK Automotive Industry
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