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The automotive industry in the United Kingdom is now best known for premium and sports
car marques including Aston Martin, Bentley, Daimler, Jaguar, Lagonda, Land Rover, Lotus,
McLaren, MG, Mini, Morgan and Rolls-Royce.
Famous and iconic British cars include the Aston Martin DB5, Aston Martin V8
Vantage,Land Rover Defender, Lotus Esprit, McLaren F1, MGB, original two-door Mini, Range
Rover, Rolls-Royce Phantom III and Rover P5. Notable British car designers include John
Polwhele Blatchley, Ian Callum, Colin Chapman, Alec Issigonis, Charles Spencer King and
Gordon Murray.

Chapter 1:
1896 to 1900
The inception of the British motor industry can be traced back to the late 1880s, when
Frederick Simms, a London-based consulting engineer, became friends with Gottlieb Daimler,
who had, in 1885, patented a successful design for a high-speed petrol engine. Simms acquired
the British rights to Daimler's engine and associated patents and from 1891 successfully sold
launches using these Cannstatt-made motors from Eel Pie Island in the Thames. In 1893 he
formed The Daimler Motor Syndicate Limited for his various Daimler-related enterprises.

Daimler 1899

In June 1895 Simms and his friend Evelyn Ellis promoted motorcars in the United Kingdom
by bringing a Daimler-engined Panhard & Levassor to England and in July it completed, without
police intervention, the first British long-distance motorcar journey from Southampton to
Simms' documented plans to manufacture Daimler motors and Daimler Motor Carriages (in
Cheltenham) were taken over, together with his company and its Daimler licences, by London
company-promoter HJ Lawson. Lawson contracted to buy The Daimler Motor Syndicate Limited
and all its rights and on 14 January 1896 formed and in February successfully floated in London
The Daimler Motor Company Limited. It then purchased from a friend of Lawson a disused
cotton mill in Coventry for car engine and chassis manufacture where, it is claimed, the UK's first
serial production car was made.

Motor Scout, in June 1899

The claim for the first all-British motor car is contested, but George Lanchester's first cars of
1895 and 1896 did include French and German components. In 1891 Richard Stephens, a mining
engineer from South Wales, returned from a commission in Michigan to establish a bicycle works
in Clevedon, Somerset. Whilst in America he had seen the developments in motive power and by
1897 he had produced his first car.

Lanchester Motor Company

This was entirely of his own design and manufacture, including the two-cylinder engine, apart
from the wheels which he bought from Starley in Coventry. This was probably the first all-British
car and Stephens set up a production line, manufacturing in all, twelve vehicles, including fourand six-seater cars and hackneys, and nine-seater buses.

Chapter 2
1900 to 1930
The early British vehicles of the late 19th century relied mainly upon developments from
Germany and France. By 1900 however, the first all-British 4-wheel car had been designed and
built by Herbert Austin as manager of The Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company. In
1901, backed by (Vickers Limited) brothers 'Colonel Tom' and Albert Vickers, Austin started
what became Wolseley Motors Limited in Birmingham and UK's largest car manufacturer until
Ford in 1913.

Wolosely Motor Classic

The great bulk of the pioneering car producers, many of them from the bicycle industry, got off
to a shaky start. Of the 200 British makes of car that had been launched up until 1913, only about
100 of the firms were still in existence. In 1910 UK vehicle production was 14,000 units. By
1913 Henry Ford had built a new factory in Manchester and was the leading UK producer,
building 7310 cars that year, followed by Wolseley at 3000, Humber (making cars since 1898 in
Coventry) at 2500, Rover (Coventry car maker since 1904) at 1800 and Sunbeam (producing cars
since 1901) at 1700, with the plethora of smaller producers bringing the 1913 total up to about
16,000 vehicles.

Rolls-Royce 10-hp 1904

Car production virtually came to an end during the war years 19141918, although the
requirements of war production led to the development of new mass-production techniques in the
motor industry.
By 1922 there were 183 motor companies in the UK, and by 1929, following the slump years,
there were 58 companies remaining. In 1929 production was dominated by Morris (founded by
William Morris in 1910 in Oxford) and Austin (founded by Herbert Austin in Birmingham in
1905 after he left Wolseley) which between them produced around 60% of total UK output.
Singer (Coventry motorcycle manufacturer started building cars in 1905) followed in third place
that year with 15% of production.

Chapter 3
1940 to 1955
During the Second World War car production in the UK gave way to commercial and military
vehicle production, and many motor vehicle plants were converted to aircraft and aero engine
production. Following the war the government controlled the supply of steel, and priority was
given to supplying foreign-revenue-raising export businesses. In 1947 steel was available only to
businesses which exported at least 75% of their production. This, coupled with the inevitably
limited competition from continental Europe, and with demand for new vehicles in America and
in Australia being greater than the American industry alone could supply, resulted in British
vehicle exports reaching record levels and the UK became the world's largest motor vehicle
exporter. In 1937 the UK provided 15% of world vehicle exports. By 1950, a year in which 75%
of British car production and 60% of its commercial vehicle production was exported, the UK
provided 52% of the world's exported vehicles.

Land Rover Series I

This situation remained until the mid-1950s, by which time the American industry production

had caught up with American demand, and European production was recovering. By 1952 the
American owned producers in the UK (Ford and GM's Vauxhall) had between them a 29% share
of the British market, which exceeded the share of either of the UK's two top domestically owned
manufacturers. It was in that context that Viscount Nuffield agreed to the merger of his company,
the Nuffield Organisation, with Austin, to form the British Motor Corporation (BMC). Thus
BMC, comprising Austin, Morris, MG, Riley and Wolseley was formed in 1952 and commanded
a 40% share of the British market. German production was increasing yearly, and by 1953 it had
exceeded that of France, and by 1956 it had overtaken that of the UK.

1955 to 1968
By 1955 five companies produced 90% of the UK's motor vehicle output: BMC, Ford, Rootes,

Standard-Triumph and Vauxhall. Of the dozen or so smaller producers Rover and Jaguar were
strong niche producers. By 1960 the UK had dropped from being the world's second largest
motor vehicle producer into third place. Labour-intensive methods, and wide model ranges
hindered opportunities to reduce manufacturing costs the UK's unit costs were higher than those
of their major Japanese, European and American competitors.Although rationalisation of motor
vehicle companies had started, full integration did not occur.
BMC continued to produce vehicles under the marque names of its incorporated companies,
many of which competed with each other. Standard-Triumph's attempts to reduce costs by
embracing a modern volume production strategy almost led to their bankruptcy in 1960, the result
was that they were purchased by the commercial vehicle manufacturing company Leyland
Motors. In 1966, BMC and Jaguar came together, to form British Motor Holdings (BMH).
Leyland had achieved some sales success with Leyland-Triumph and in 1967 it acquired Rover.
By 1966 the UK had slipped to become the world's fourth largest motor vehicle producer.
Following a gradual process which had begun in 1964, Chrysler UK (CUK) had fully acquired
Rootes by 1967.

1967 Morris Mini-Minor

In the context of BMC's wide, complex, and expensive-to-produce model range, Ford's
conventionally designed Cortina challenging for the number one spot in the domestic market, and
the heavy reliance of the British economy on motor vehicle production, in 1968 the Government
brokered the merger of the successful Leyland-Triumph-Rover and the struggling BMH, to form
Europe's fourth-largest car maker, the British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC). The new
company announced its intention to invest in a new volume car range, and to equip its factories
with the latest capital-intensive production methods.
Larger family cars enjoyed strong sales in the 1960s, namely the Ford Cortina (launched in
1962), Austin/Morris 1800 (1964) and Vauxhall Victor (1957). Later in the 1960s, the Rootes
Group launched a new competitor in this growing sector of the market - the Hillman Hunter.
The Rover P6, launched in 1963 and the first winner of the European Car of the Year award,
was arguably the most popular luxury model in the UK during the 1960s.
The iconic Jaguar E-Type sports car, with a top speed of 145mph and the choice of a coupe or
roadster bodystyle, was launched in 1961 and would remain in production until 1975. Cheaper

sports cars also enjoyed strong sales during the 1960s, including the MG B and Triumph Spitfire
which were launched in the early part of the decade, and the Ford Capri which was launched just
before the decade's end.

Jaguar E-Type

Chapter 4
1987 to 2001
Ford acquired Aston Martin for an undisclosed sum in September 1987 and Jaguar for US$2.38
billion in November 1989. Production of the new small Jaguar, the X type, started at Halewood in
late 2000. By the end of the century, Ford had also acquired Land Rover.

Jaguar X-type

In 1998 Vickers put Rolls-Royce Motors, including Bentley, up for auction. Volkswagen Group
won the auction with a bid of US$780 million, but Rolls-Royce plc, which had the right to block
a transfer of the Rolls-Royce name to non-British owners, agreed to sell the rights to BMW for
$65 million. It was subsequently agreed that control of the Rolls-Royce marque would pass from
Volkswagen to BMW in 2003.

The Bentley Arnage

In 1995, Ford finally entered the decade-old people carrier market with its Galaxy, which was
built in Portugal alongside the identical Volkswagen Sharan and Seat Alhambra as part of a
venture between Ford and Volkswagen. Vauxhall entered this sector of the market a year later
with the American-built Sintra, but this was not popular with British buyers and was discontinued
after just three years when the smaller, German-built Zafira was launched, and proved far more
popular than Vauxhall's original entry into the MPV market.
The affordable sports car market enjoyed a revival in the 1990s after going into virtual
hibernation in the 1980s. Sparked by the popularity of the Japanese-built Mazda MX5 after its
launch in 1989, Rover began development on a new sports car in the early 1990s, finally
launching the MG F two-seater roadster in 1995, 15 years after the demise of the last volume MG
sports cars.
The 1996 Lotus Elise also enjoyed relatively strong sales in this market sector, as did the
Vauxhall VX220 (based on the Elise) which was launched in 2000. Ford, which had exited the
sports car market by 1987 with the demise of the Capri to concentrate on faster versions of its
best-selling hatchbacks and saloons, returned to this market sector in 1994 with the Americanbuilt Probe, and then enjoyed more success with its smaller Puma between 1997 and 2002.

Chapter 5
2001 to 2011
In May 2000 Ford announced that passenger car assembly as its Dagenham plant would cease
in 2002, ending 90 years of Ford passenger car assembly in the UK. At the same time Ford
announced that it would invest $500 million in the expansion of a diesel engine factory at the site,
making Dagenham its largest diesel engine center worldwide and creating about 500 new jobs to
offset the 1,900 lost in vehicle assembly. In December 2004 Ford announced a further investment

of 169 million in the Dagenham plant, increasing annual output to one million diesel engines.
Losses at Jaguar led to closure of the company's Browns Lane plant in Coventry in 2004.Spare
capacity at Halewood allowed Land Rover Freelander production to be transferred there in 2006.

Aston Martin DBS V12

In March 2010 McLaren Automotive unveiled its MP4-12C model, along side plans to
produce around 4,000 cars per year at its Woking factory by the middle of the decade.At the Paris
Motor Show in September 2010 Lotus Cars unveiled five new models due to go on sale by 2016,
alongside plans for an investment of 770 million over 10 years, the complete redevelopment of
its Hethel factory and an increase in production from under 3,000 cars per year to 6,000 to 7,000.
In December 2010 it was announced that Renault had sold its remaining 25% shareholding in its
eponymous Formula 1 team to Lotus Cars, and that the team would be renamed Lotus Renault in

Lotus Evora

Chapter 6
2011 to present
In April 2011 the MG Motor subsidiary of SAIC Motor announced that mass production had
resumed at the Longbridge plant, as the first MG 6 to be produced in the United Kingdom came

off the production line. In May 2011 Jaguar unveiled plans to build the C-X75 petrol-electric
hybrid supercar in the UK from 2013, with production to be in association with Williams ,Jaguar
announced the cancellation of the project in December 2012 due to the ongoing global economic


In May 2011, Aston Martin Lagonda confirmed that it was planning to revive the Lagonda
marque, with the launch of two or three new models. In an interview with Reuters in the same
month, Carl-Peter Forster, the Chief Executive of Tata Motors, revealed that Jaguar Land Rover
would be investing over 5 billion in product development over the succeeding five years.
In the half-year from January to June 2014, the UK had its best year in new car sales in 9 years.
1.28 million new cars were sold during the period, a rise of 10% compared to the same period in