Motor vehicle trade between the UK and its main EU partners

At the referendum on 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom chose a future outside the European Union. The implications of the referendum result for trade and market access will of course depend on the outcome of future negotiations, but the fact remains that the United Kingdom is a major part of the EU automobile manufacturing supply chain.

Note: these figures have been replaced by more recent and complete data on 30 October 2018, please click here for our latest fact sheet on Brexit and the auto industry.

The UK is home to over 30 production facilities, producing both engines and whole vehicles, as well as many more suppliers to the auto industry. In total, the sector employs some 814,000 people in the United Kingdom.

80% of the UK’s car production is exported, of which 54% goes to EU member states. In 2017, the United Kingdom produced 1.75 million motor vehicles, exporting 800,000 of these within the European Union.

The other way around, the EU countries represent 82% of the UK’s motor vehicle import volume, worth €38 billion. The 27 other EU member states (EU27) produced 19.69 million motor vehicles in 2017 and exported 2.3 million (11.7%) of these to the United Kingdom.

14.1 million auto parts and components, worth €11.4 billion, were imported from the EU27 by the UK in 2017 – representing 78.8% of the value of the UK’s total part and accessory imports. At the same time, the United Kingdom exported 21.7 million auto parts and components to the EU27, with a total value of €4 billion (or 68.3% of the UK’s global part and accessory exports value).

The interactive infographic below provides an overview of motor vehicle trade between the United Kingdom and its six main EU partners (Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Poland, the Netherlands and Italy) in 2017, covering exports and imports of motor vehicles, automotive parts and accessories.