A new era of automotive cooperation between the UK and China is underway with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) signing a cooperation agreement with its Chinese counterpart, the Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). The contract was declared at a reception by MP Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade and Chief Executive Officer of SMMT, Mike Hawes, and aims to develop mutual understanding and cooperation between the two industries to create new business opportunities.
China is the largest automotive market in the world, with over 23 Million new cars recorded last year and one of the top destinations for the export of cars produced in the UK, behind only the EU and the US. More than 6% of all models produced in England and shipped abroad in 2018 were shipped to China, attracting buyers for luxury brands and China-made sports brands, including McLaren, Aston Martin, Jaguar Land Rover, and Bentley. At the same time, more than 10,000 cars manufactured in China were registered on British roads.
While the UK is the third largest car manufacturer in Europe with 1.52 Million cars in 2018, China is by far the largest in the world with over 23 Million cars. Production has augmented radically over the past ten years, an increase of 248% since 2008, with a growing number of new energy vehicles including battery-powered electric models and plug-in hybrid models – about 1, 27 million last year.
British investment in the Chinese automotive industry began in the 1980s. GKN was the first Western company to invest in the country’s component industry in 1988. It now has 19 production sites in China with more than 8,000 people. Meanwhile, world-famous British automakers including Aston Martin, McLaren, and Bentley and have established all dealer networks established in China with Jaguar Land Rover cars in the country since 2014.
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