We should be proud to be British. Britain has been an established car manufacturer since the late 1800s. With desirable iconic brands such as Aston Martin, McLaren and of course Rolls Royce being the epitome of British-ness. Over the years we’ve seen dips and dives, but it seems as though we are again reigning supreme. New car sales in the UK were up 5.3 per cent in 2012, which is a huge feat, considering we were on the brink of collapse just a few years ago.
Britain has a rich history in car production and manufacturing, dating back to 1860, when Thomas Rickett, made a steam-powered car. Then in 1895,that Sir David Salomans organised Britain’s first exhibition of motor vehicles in the open air in October at Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
Kent has been a hotspot, having a huge influence in the car industry, taking car manufacturing forward. Kent itself now holds the War and Peace show, which is regarded as being the biggest and most historic military vehicle show in the world. Even now there are still many cars manufactured here, along with a vast amount of car dealers in Kent.
Rootes, which became one of the largest car manufacturers in Britain, began in a small town in Kent. Developing from a cycle shop, and founded by William Rootes in 1913, they later became a plant to repair airplane engines in 1917, yet the war ended before it was fully operational.
William later joined with Reginal Rootes in 1919 to re-establish the car sales business. Due to their success, and the outbreak of the Second World War the Rootes factories were turned over to the manufacture of military vehicles. By 1924 Rootes was the largest truck and car distributor in the UK. They then became Europe’s largest motor distributing company by 1926.
The boom in the car industry really began around the time of the war. The British sports cars are iconic. Popularity increased significantly in the 1950s. The war was finally over, and many people had disposable income in their pockets. Motor racing was also becoming popular, and more people wanted to feel the rush for themselves.
British-made cars are now sold in over 170 countries, and for the first time the UK is finally making more money from exporting its cars than it spends importing foreign cars. Cars such as Mini, Jaguar and Range Rover are all on the rise after an investment of private funds, which aim to improve factories and put research into new models. Jaguar and Land Rover also recorded their highest ever-annual sales last year with a 76% growth in China.
We can now sit back and relax, knowing we have a firm place in the car manufacturing industry, with experts predicting that we will be making 2.2million vehicles a year by 2016. Rule Britannia!