LONDON, , (Pakistan Point News - APP - 26th Jan, 2017 ) - Britain's car industry reached its highest production level of the 21st century last year, but with Brexit talks imminent manufacturers are facing uncertain times ahead of the country's EU exit. More than 1.7 million cars were produced in Britain last year, an increase of 8.5 percent on 2015 and the highest output since 1999, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) announced on Thursday.
The figures show the industry has been in "good shape", according to Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. "2016 was a tremendously successful year for the UK automotive car industry. "In terms of new car sales, that was an all time record, with 2.6 million vehicles," Hawes told AFP, referring to a figure which included cars imported to Britain and then sold. The vast majority of cars made in the UK -- eight out of 10 -- are exported, with European Union countries accounting for 56 percent of exports from Britain.
Germany, Italy and France are the biggest buyers, between them accounting for 47.2 percent of cars bought within the bloc. Car production has driven through economic downturns in the UK and taken off in recent years, with this decade set to be the best the sector has seen since the 1970s. British brands have been snapped up by foreign buyers, among them Mini and Rolls-Royce which are owned by Germany's BMW. There has been a wave of investment in the country from foreign carmakers, notably Japanese firms Nissan, Toyota and Honda, which between them produce half the cars made in Britain.