Although many famous car manufacturers have come out of Britain, most are owned by foreign companies and few cars are still produced here. Just how many British cars are there on sale?
Jaguar, Vauxhall, Mini, Bentley and Lotus are all well-known British manufacturers, but none of them are owned by British companies. Aston Martin is now part owned by Prodrive, a British company, but also has other investors based abroad, including Ford.
There are still a fair few models produced in the UK by old British brands, such as the new Jaguar XJ which is built in Birmingham, the Range Rover Evoque which will be built in Halewood and the Vauxhall Astra which is currently produced in Ellesmere Port.
But there are some signs unfortunately that it’s getting too expensive to build in Britain. Aston Martin builds the Rapide in Austria, which is where the new MINI Countryman is also built. Both of these models were the first from those manufactures not to be built here.
It should be noted though that although a lot of British manufacturers are owned by foreign companies, a huge amount of operations are still carried out in England. The headquarters of most are all still in Britain, even if the production isn’t.
The only companies we can think of that are completely British owned are Morgan, Caterham and Ariel, all small sports car producers that still manufacture their cars here. Though it should be noted that none of them use British sourced engines any more!
In a promising move for the industry, the Dutch brand Spyker Cars, was bought by Coventry based CPP Global Holding Ltd, meaning Spyker is now effectively British! This year McLaren also started producing the MP4-12C, their first car since the iconic F1, the Woking factory will produce an estimated 1,000 cars a year.
Without doubt, it’s an idealistic view to wish for a completely British made car. Although there may not be many factories left, Britain is still very highly regarded in the global Automotive industry for the expertise and skills in highly specialised tasks that are vital for any car company.
It is a shame to see companies moving various operations out of Britain, but at least we’ve got lots of famous British manufacturers that are doing well and producing outstanding cars, even if they are owned by foreign companies.
This is a guest post by James Hind from Carwow.co.uk, which compiles car reviews, making new car choosing made easy.