LONDON (Reuters) -- British car production reached its highest level since 2007 last year, buoyed by strong domestic demand and exports outside the European Union.
Car production was 1.510 million in 2013, up 3 percent from 1.465 million in 2012, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said in a statement today.
Car sales in 2013 were also their highest since 2007 at 2.265 million, according to figures released earlier this month.
The SMMT predicts that production could exceed 1972's all-time peak of 1.92 million by 2017.
About 80 percent of the cars produced in Britain last year were exported, with sales split roughly evenly between the European Union and elsewhere -- a sharp turnaround from a few years ago when the EU accounted for 70 percent of exports.
China, Russia and the United States are the main non-EU markets for British cars, each accounting for about 10 percent of exports. Land Rover's luxury off-road vehicles and sports cars have been particularly successful abroad.
Nissan produced the most cars in Britain in 2013, followed by Jaguar Land Rover and Toyota. Other major manufacturers include BMW's Mini, Honda and General Motors' Vauxhall brand.
The auto industry performed stronger than other areas of British industry, where output is still lower than before the financial crisis even though the economy is growing again.