Figures from the UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have shown a growing divide between the number of finished vehicles the UK imports from India and the number it exports to the country.
According to the SMMT, finished vehicle imports from India into the UK grew by 8.3% in 2017 to 34,149 units. UK vehicle exports to India, however, fell 66% to just 1,144 units, leaving India down from eighth to 12th place in Asia in terms of importing cars from the UK.
SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said the decrease in UK exports to India was a reflection of more local assembly there. “It reflects more investments being made in India and capacity expansion in the country,” he said. “Most companies prefer to build close to where they sell.”
Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) proved the most popular UK brand in India in 2017, with the Range Rover Sport, Land Rover Discovery, Range Rover Velar and Range Rover among the best sellers. The Mini One was the second most popular UK brand in the country last year.
Across all of Asia, UK finished vehicles exports went up by 10.4% to 200,280 units. Almost 77% of those were sent to China, Japan and South Korea. The main growth markets for UK-manufactured vehicles were Japan (up 24.5%) and China (up 19.7%). In North America, meanwhile, Canada (up 19.5%) and the US (up 7%) led the way.
According to the SMMT, the UK exports around £1.5 billion ($2.1 billion) worth of components each year to Asia, although it imports in excess of double that.