Automotive sector continues upward trajectory

The UK’s automotive sector is set for a record year with 2013 sales forecast at 2.1 million units, a three per cent rise on 2012.

According to Clearwater Corporate Finance’s new Global Automotive Report, Ford retained its market leadership, selling one in every seven cars in the UK. The fastest growing sales among big manufacturers include Vauxhall, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Honda and Mini.

In a statement, Constantine Biller, partner at Clearwater Corporate Finance said: ‘Annual car sales in Western Europe have fallen by almost a quarter since 2007, and are forecast to continue falling to 12 million in 2014 from 13.2 million in 2012.’

The UK has seen particular success in exporting to China, with Chinese exports growing from 1.4 per cent in 2008 to 8.1 per cent in 2012.

‘The UK’s focus on emerging markets has been the key to its success. For instance Russia now accounts for 10.6 per cent of all exports, growing from 3.8 per cent in 2009,’ said Constantine.

Conversely, exports to the EU have fallen by almost 10 per cent since 2008. However, they have accounted for 51 per cent of total exports during 2013 to date.

Growth in the entire automotive supply chain has been key to the UK renaissance. This in turn is spurring mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity as UK players become key targets. Recent deals in the supply chain include investment into VTL Automotive by the Business Growth Fund, plus the acquisition of Covpress Holdings by Shandong Yongtai Group.

Constantine concluded: ’The most success comes from those that operate on a global scale, so automotive component suppliers should be looking to expand internationally, particularly with JLR now establishing car plants in both China and India. Both acquisition and joint ventures are viable options. Alternatively, UK suppliers might look to sell to a global player with worldwide operations.’