India has become the seventh-biggest Asian market for UK car exports, thanks in part to an increase in demand for British-built luxury vehicles.
New figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show an 8.3 per cent rise in exports to India during the first six months of 2017, with premium marques proving particularly popular.
A total of 1,650 units were shipped from the UK, with year-on-year growth supported by an increasing number of affluent buyers taking advantage of a range of all-new premium and luxury British-built cars.
According to the SMMT, the first half of 2017 also saw a sharp increase in the number of Indian-built cars registered by British buyers. More than 21,000 vehicles were registered in the UK, up 48.6 per cent on the same period last year.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, highlighted the importance of maintaining a strong trading relationship between the UK and India.
He said: “World class engineering, products, strong government collaboration and massive investment have helped UK Automotive become a global success story and one of the world’s most skilled workforces have helped make UK Automotive among the most productive places to build cars.
“Given demand and the highly integrated nature of the global automotive sector, it is vital we maintain open trade links with customers and suppliers across all markets for the benefit of consumers worldwide. The UK and Indian automotive industries share a rich heritage of trade and investment, and strengthening this relationship through mutually-beneficial trade deals in the future is of the utmost importance.”
Although UK car production as a whole fell by 2.9 per cent in the first half of 2017 to 866,656 units, year-on-year demand from overseas markets remained broadly stable at -0.9 per cent. The SMMT said the dip was due to manufacturers’ production lines gearing up for a range of new premium models. Demand for new luxury models including the Range Rover Velar, Aston Martin Vantage and Jaguar XF Sportbrake is expected to help cement the UK’s place as the world’s second-biggest producer of premium cars after Germany.