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The Make it British list of British-made cars

Which models of car are made in the UK, and what was the best-selling British-made car of 2012? Make it British finds out…

British-made cars UK car manufacturing is on the rise – growing by 7% in July 2013, and in the first 7 months of this year nearly 900,000 British-made cars have rolled off the production lines. Car making in Britain peaked in 1972, when nearly 2 million cars were made here, so we may still have some way to go to reach that high, but things are looking good for the UK automotive industry.  The majority of the big players might now be owned by overseas companies, but they are currently sinking millions of pounds worth of investment into their UK manufacturing plants, and creating thousands of jobs in this country.  Pretty soon British car making could be up to the level that is was at in the early 70s.

So exactly which models are made here? And who are the companies that are putting the investment behind UK car manufacture? We’ve drawn up a list of the top British-made car brands to help you make sure that the next car you purchase is Made in Britain.

In alphabetical order:

Aston Martin DB9

Aston Martin DB9

Aston Martin  make the Cygnet, DB9, Rapide, Vanquish and Vantage at Gaydon in Warwickshire. Originally founded by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, the company has been through various ownerships over the last one hundred years and is now joint owned by Kuwait and Italian investment firms.

Bentley Continental GT

Bentley Continental GT

Bentley motor company is now owned by Germany’s Volkswagen AG, but continues to make its cars at the Bentley plant in Crewe. The luxury car brand known for its saloons recently announced that it will launch an SUV in 2016. If initial press reports  were to be believed, it was considering manufacturing them in Eastern Europe, but they have now confirmed that it will be made in Crewe. As a result, Bentley will be investing £800m into its UK factory, creating 1,000 new jobs.

Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz

Honda have been making cars at their Swindon factory since 1992. Between the original plant, and a second that opened in 2001, they have the capacity to make 350,00 cars in Britain a year (although the actual production figures for 2012 were around 165,000). Their Civic and Jazz models are all British-made, and they have a good website dedicated to their UK manufacturing.

Jaguar XK Convertible

Jaguar XK Convertible

Jaguar makes the XF, XK and XJ models in their factory at Castle Bromwich. Jaguar Land Rover has created 350 new jobs in order to manufacture the new F-Type and anticipates that it will export more than 75% of these. Its all-aluminium construction employs manufacturing techniques adapted from the aerospace industry. That’s British-innovation for you.

Land Rover Discovery 4

Land Rover Discovery 4

Land Rover, together with Jaguar, is owned by India’s Tata Motors Ltd. The luxury car group has recently seen a big increase in demand for its vehicles, reporting a 14% jump in sales in 2013 so far, and nearly 9000 jobs have been created by their British car manufacturing over the last 2 years.  The Defender, Defender CV, Discovery, Evoque, Freelander and Range Rover models are made in Halewood and Solihull. If you fancy seeing how their gas-guzzling SUV’s are made you can go on a factory tour.

Mini Clubman

Mini Clubman

Mini – Unfortunately the iconic British car is no longer British-owned, instead being part of BMW. However, the Mini, Clubman and Cabrio models are all made in Britain at their Oxford, Swindon and Hams Hall factories. There were just over 200,000 minis made in Britain in 2012, making it the second most popular British-made car. My favourite model is the retro-looking Clubman in chocolate brown!

Morgan 4/4 Two Seater

Morgan 4/4 Two Seater

Morgan – The only entirely British-owned and British-made car company on the list. Only a few hundred cars are made every year at their factory in Malvern, Worcester, hence the waiting list for a Morgan can be up to 2 years. They’ve been making the Morgan 4/4, shown above, since 1936 and it holds the world record for being the model of car with the longest continuous production.

Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf

Nissan made over half a million cars in the UK in 2012, including the Juke, Qashqui and all-electric Leaf. Their factory in Washington, near Sunderland, made its first vehicle in 1986, and is Britain’s largest car plant, employing over 6000 staff. The Nissan Qashqui was the best-selling British-made car in the UK in 2012, with over 300,000 having been sold.

Phantom Drophead Coupé

Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

Rolls Royce Motor Cars has been a subsidiary of BMW since 1999 and makes the Phantom and Ghost models at Goodwood in West Sussex. 3500 cars were made in 2011, a 31% increase on the previous year. Not unsurprisingly, lots of them were exported to Asia and the Middle East, but they still sold a fair few in the UK too. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars employs more than 1,300 people at its headquarters in Goodwood and in 2012 it employed over 100 young people on industrial placements; it also runs successful apprenticeship and graduate programmes.

Toyota Auris

Toyota Auris

Toyota has a factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire and another in Deeside North Wales. The Japanese owned company employs more than 3,800 people across its two UK sites, and exports around 85% of the vehicles it manufactures.It even sends some back to Japan! Both the Auris and Avensis are made in Britain.

Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall manufactured 90,000 Astras at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire last year. Owned by General Motors, the Vauxhall Astra has been seen in several different guises since 1979, and continues to be one of the best-selling models in the UK. Its latest version, which is due to go into production very soon, will see Vauxhall owner General Motors invest £125m in the Ellesmere Port factory and create around 700 new jobs.

If you would like to see any of the above-mentioned car factories in action most manufacturers allow you to go on a tour of their factory. Just check out their websites for details.

The Top 5 Best Selling British-made cars of 2012 (with number is brackets)

Nissan Qashqai (310,837)
Mini Mini (207,530)
Nissan Juke (154,759)
Land Rover Evoque (112,331)
Vauxhall Astra (90,187)

The Top 5 Best Selling British-made car brands of 2012 (number of cars manufactured in the UK in brackets)

Nissan 510,572
Land Rover 305,467
MINI 207,530
Honda 165,630
Toyota 109,429

*Figures used in this article are from The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders



  1. Simon on August 30, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Great article. Here are a few more British car manufacturers to add to the list.

    Lotus and Caterham UK designed and built but foreign owned.

    Also Ginetta, Ariel, Grinnall, McLaren, Noble, Radical, Ultima and Westfield.

    Its also worth noting that F1 adds around £6bn to the UK economy as most of the teams and specialist suppliers are based here.

  2. Mark Hyland on September 1, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Even though Ford no longer make vehicles in the UK, nearly 1 million engines are made at their plants in Dagenham and Bridgend. Also it seemed a bit silly in the Land Rover section to write about their ‘gas-guzzling SUV’s’ when this is supposed to be a pro-British manufacturing article. Also, most of them are actually fitted with diesel engines, not gasoline and these diesel engines are made by Ford in Dagenham.

    • on September 13, 2013 at 6:23 am

      Hi Mark
      Thanks for the figures on the engines, and that’s fair criticism about my gas guzzling comment!

      • Wish.Wash on March 16, 2021 at 1:11 pm

        That’s a fair comment on gas guzzling as all in that class are the same. Don’t matter which country that was made.

  3. James on September 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Must second the ‘gas-guzzling’ issue – also they do the same/more to the gallon than an average family hatch of 20-30 years ago.

    Also, although the Astra seems to languish with only 90k units per annum, compared with the surprising and impressive figure of 310,000 Qashqais made; as an alternative perspective to this – if you look at the list of top 20 best-selling cars of 2013, the Astra is in 4th place.

    So the Astra is best selling British car to British people!

    (Qashqai is not far behind, at 6th place, Juke at 11th, Mini at 16th. Both the Peugeot and Insignia would have also been on the list but some genius decided to close both the factories that built them!)

    Another one- Vauxhall is now the OLDEST British car manufacturer still making products in Britain, at 110 years. Daimler the oldest (but dormant) marque.

    Nice to see an article which proves it’s not all high-quality, high-price, low-volume products from Britain, but still high-quality AND high-volume too. Thanks!

    • Gary Dickinson on June 6, 2019 at 11:59 pm

      Sorry to say it James but Vauxhall isn’t a British company it’s owned by General Motors which is American so lets not buy them! what we need is to take over these plants that are going to be left to rot and build everything British from the ground up including the Investment. I’m not sure how Britain is going to get on after Brexit but whatever happens We need to strike while the iron’s hot and make this into a positive for Britain rather than the negative everyone including the media is making it. Let’s be Honest because there was a couple of Idiots telling everyone that britain puts 365million into europe every year which could be spent on the N.H.S and people in general had greiviences over immigration etc voted to leave? They didn’t really know what they was voting for , they didn’t understand the implications of what leaving europe meant in terms of european trade rules etc and what impact that would have on job’s and the economy as a whole and do you realy think any of that 365 million they was talking avout will be spent on the N.H.S Deeeeeerrrrr

      • Fred Trotman on November 21, 2019 at 2:24 pm

        Now, in 2019, Vauxhall is now owned by the French. Interesting reply from the Head of that FRENCH Car Conglomerate when asked why did he buy Vauxhall he said that they wanted an English name as “… people don’t like French cars”! I have been saying that for over 35 years!!!

        • Dave Dee on December 18, 2020 at 10:22 am

          I am not so sure that people don’t like French cars. In the early eighties we had the chance to improve on the Austin/ Rover brands but chose to run them into the ground. That was when French cars were a bit of a joke but if you ever went to France most cars were Citroen, Puegot or Renault.
          These brands are still quintessentially French and being manafactured today, ironically some of which are made in the UK, I believe.
          If British people bought UK goods and companies weren’t owned by global financiers with no loyalty to any country or history, we may have still had a car industry.
          Perhaps the British government might put some money into electric vehicle manafacture.
          Converting cars from fossil based fuels to electric/ hydrogen power must be a good way to go, rather than have people panicking to buy vehicles that are going to be not fit for use after 2035 or so.
          Whilst I am sure that people will talk about the time and finance needed to progress that line of thought, we’ve done it in 2020 with a virus vaccine.
          We may end up with a viable car manafacturing industry yet!!

      • GC on February 19, 2020 at 4:21 pm

        rather condescending comments, I run a very large very successful company, the UK net contribution is between 11 and 13 billion annually. Maybe look at the shortfall in EU budget that they are now fighting over. I am not an idiot and I like most others knew and fully understood what they were voting for. We have now adapted a buy British policy in many areas.

      • Russell James on August 4, 2020 at 8:19 am

        So so wrong Dick. The demise of VW, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Fiat, Citroen, Renault, Seat, Skoda and many more is coming as the British (who have bought more cars than any other country from EU states) buy cars built in Britain like Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Vauxhall, MG and there is a good chance that sales of those foreign-owned car producers will increase massively due to home market demand.

      • Lisa on February 7, 2021 at 5:16 am

        I feel the same here in detroit michigan but for different reasons

      • Vic Kerton on March 3, 2021 at 9:45 pm

        The 65 new free trade deals signed in the last year will more than replace the EU trade (plus we still have EU trade). This opens up trade to developing countries and it would not be surprising if EU motor companies opened up factories in UK to take advantage of these trade deals that they cannot easily access via EU.

  4. Ed Purvis on September 12, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Nice to read an article about UK manufactured cars. I have purchased British -built Hondas for the last 13 years and now have the latest Honda Civic which is brilliant – I have had both BMW and Mercedes Cars as company vehicles (but kept my Hondas for the weekends!) which were not as impressive, reliable and definitely overrated. Interestingly enough the British – built Japanese vehicles usually appear at the top of the reliability tables!

  5. on September 13, 2013 at 6:26 am

    Some good additional facts here James. Maybe I need to do a best selling British-made car article ever year.

  6. Liz on September 13, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    MG is a very well known British brand. It’s now owned by china’s SAIC Group who are investing in the Midlands to re-establish an MG Europe manufacturing base here, hopefully with the same success as Nissan, Toyota and Honda. The new MG3 supermini is being launched now. The styling, design and engineering development have been led from their UK technical centre and assembly is part here as well. If it sells well it could be a similar success story to swindon, washington and derby. Definitely worth an “honourable mention” and one to watch!

    • Norrie Coiks on August 11, 2019 at 2:18 pm

      Just bought anMG zs and I’m more than happy with it. 7 Year warranty’s as standard and interest free. NO BRAINER

  7. STEPHEN LANGSTONE on September 16, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    With reference to the article on British built cars – Morgan cars are made at Malvern in Worcestershire – (not Worcester as mentioned!)

  8. David Mackenzie on October 14, 2013 at 12:41 pm


    The history of making cars becomes more complex as the years advance. Initially in the begining A British vehicle used to be Designed and Fully Assembled (body in white manufactured, painted, then assembled. Engine and gearbox likewise with all main parts supplied by the same company ie crankshaft, engine block, trasmission case, gears, flywheel etc. Dress items for the assemblies were contracted out to suppliers who were specialists in the own right ie Alternators, Bosch, or Denso, to name just a couple. This was the process adopted by most of the big names Rover, Ford, Vauxall, Landroverer and Jaguar.
    However there has been a progressive changes depending on the manufactures philosopy, powerbase and cost. Example Rolls new plant at Goodwood, yes the vehicle is assembled here in the UK however the engine is made at BMW Germany, transmission contracted out, BMW do not make gearboxes its contracted out as is the norm across the range.
    So the definition of a British car is subjective Morgan, yes the Body is designed and fully assembled in Worcestershire at Malvern, but where do the Engine and gearbox supply come from it used to be Rover both 4 cylinder and V8 but now it could be Toyota.
    Manufactures have become very economical with there comments, for obvious reasons, as it becomes a little embarrasing to admit the home truths. Likewise manpower to required to cast,machine and assmble engines and gearboxes could be significantly greater than car assemble.

  9. toby on October 25, 2013 at 2:49 am

    It’s also easy to forget the less glamorous vehicles such as tractors, Vans, trucks, taxis, specialist vehicles, military vehicles, JCBs, mobile cranes, etc.

  10. Maureen Brindley on February 4, 2019 at 6:38 am

    With companies leaving the UK because of Brexit, now is the time to get behind companies that remain faithful to Britain and but British.

    • Peter Toombs on May 29, 2019 at 12:20 pm

      Well said. Is there an up to date list of truly British companies though? I’ve been trying to select British goods, but it’s not so easy to spot them!

    • DAVID ALBISTON on September 12, 2019 at 12:44 pm

      Reading this article as i am considering changing our policy for any new company cars/vans to be manufactured in Britain.

  11. John Ivil on February 10, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    In view of Brexit I vowed only to buy cars that are made in UK. Although this restricted my choice my current vehicle a Nissan Qashqui meets my requirements perfectly. I don’t understand what determines a ‘British Brand’ and how buying a Vauxhall supports British Car Industry.

  12. Arfan Medni on February 17, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Shame so little manufacturers are British companies, look at Germany its the opposite.

  13. James Bond on February 23, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    I am in the process of selling my BMW and hope to buy an F Pace jag which I believe to be British, but as stated above, it is difficult to determine exactly what is and what is not British.
    I also don’t drink european wine, now buying New Zealand, Chilean, Aussie etc, just as good, if not better.
    I will be avoiding European stuff where ever I find an alternative.
    Will holiday on the Canaries.

    • Tony Hannant on June 11, 2019 at 11:15 am

      Canaries, still part of Spain though.

  14. Audrey robinson on March 9, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    It’s time we had British owned cars built in Britain, if after Brexit half of the foreign owned cars leave. We would have all the expertise in the people that would be wondering what to do next.
    The government could step in and take these plants to continue building cars. British made,I’m sure there are plenty of young designers that would love a challenge and plenty of investors together with the government bring about a fantastic range of cars.
    Britain Needs to start building ,making things right across the board, too many skills have disappeared.
    Give our future generations an incentive be creative.

    • Gary Oldham on June 7, 2019 at 9:54 am

      This is exactly what we need to do Audrey, if you go to the European countries, inevitably you will see the cars that are build by their country i.e. France, Germany etc.
      Investment into sorting our car problems is too prominent. This is also another similar story to the British motorcycle industry where known faults were never remedied which ended up with a poor vehicle.
      I was a strong supporter of buying British, but this cannot be done – which is sad.

  15. Ali on May 23, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Are Toyota Prius Hybrid cars manufacture in UK or they all are imported ??

  16. Gary Dickinson on June 6, 2019 at 11:37 pm

    I have to agree, once upon a time it meant something to drive a British built car which would have been built in Britain by a company not owned by Germans, Indians or the Chinese or some Arab consortium but British owned outright and not just cars but everything from foodstuffs to heavy plant and machinery. The people that bought it used it with pride and even boasted about it. If you bought, drove or Flew British it was a sign that you were affluent, smart and you had to be good at what you do, you had to be a professional because you choose to buy British. Also British goods appealed to everyone the world over. I think if the government, banks and influential people in this country started investing more in ourselves and our younger generation with all our natural flare, inventiveness, creativity and determination We would all work with pride and produce goods that would make GREAT BRITAIN GREAT AGAIN a country of proud citizens that would walk with there heads held high knowing that we were back on top and we did it by ourselves for ourselves and made Britain the country it once was, a world leader in manufacturing and commerce where goods that have them famous words stamped on them “MADE IN GREAT BRITAIN” are the best in the world and the true “BRITISH BULLDOG SPIRIT” reborn, this isn’t some far fetched scheme or this guy’s talking rubbish. When the British people put our minds to something anything is possible we are only bound by the doubting Thomas’s that have no faith in the British people or are just to stupid or blind to see it or those who would rather invest there money somewhere else because he or she can get a better return. We are only bound and held back from achievement by those that think were not capable or good enough or think were not capable. If you are one of those then “SHAME ON YOU” Anyone who wants to make our country great again needs to start now, so the Government needs to set a new agenda for the financial institutions, corporate and major banks building societies and Investors up and down the country you need to act now and put the GREAT back into BRITAIN……

  17. Gary Dickinson on June 7, 2019 at 12:03 am

    Sorry to say it James but Vauxhall isn’t a British company it’s owned by General Motors which is American so lets not buy them! what we need is to take over these plants that are going to be left to rot and build everything British from the ground up including the Investment. I’m not sure how Britain is going to get on after Br-exit but whatever happens We need to strike while the iron’s hot and make this into a positive for Britain rather than the negative everyone including the media is making it. Let’s be Honest because there was a couple of Idiots telling everyone that Britain puts 365 million into Europe every year which could be spent on the N.H.S and people in general had grievances over immigration etc voted to leave? They didn’t really know what they was voting for , they didn’t understand the implications of what leaving Europe meant in terms of European trade rules etc and what impact that would have on job’s and the economy as a whole and do you realy think any of that 365 million they was talking about will be spent on the N.H.S Deeeeeerrrrr

    • Ryan on January 13, 2020 at 9:11 pm

      Vauxhall/Opel were bought from GM by PSA in 2017.

  18. ken on June 17, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    very sad looking to buy a car for approx 10 k only kia ..dacia a few others ../,like the coal industry in 80s it was cheaper to import than mine it here and there is lots left under ground here. chap labor. thats why china biggest seller in world but 89% is rubbish and dont last wasnt made to last so you buy more bad world now

  19. phil on June 29, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Neally all the cars listed on the top british build cars list above are actually put together in britain but the parts are certainly not all manufacturered in britain so their not british are they.

    When a vehicle is completely constructed of british steel and alloy, plastic and other british materials as well as all components made in britain then you can call it british made.

    What you have above is nothing more than put together factories of hybrid components from all over the EU and world. So in my books, not british made at all, just the labour is british.

    • Eric on September 18, 2019 at 6:59 pm

      I think the point being , we need to support the British worker , this can be done by buying things made in Britain , Jaguar for instance , which will be my next car . Most certainly nothing by purge it or Citroen Mercedes

    • David on June 7, 2020 at 12:01 pm

      Thank goodness I drive a Land Rover 110 V8 duel fuel 1986 then, at least I can say it was made 100% in Great Britain , and hold my head up high. It works hard (on the farm) and plays hard too, and it certainly puts a smile on my face. Maybe , we here in the United Kingdom, should reappraise the whole situation here , and what our priorities are concerning the people and our great country. As clearly we appear to be short falling somewhat with our own infrastructure .

  20. Robert Langford on July 31, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    A number of smaller volume manufacturers are missing from this list, Ginetta for one.

  21. Mr Richard Arthur Ford on August 19, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    There are plenty of talented people who would jump at the chance if the government backed them up

  22. MennoB on September 14, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Get over it, there are no British made cars anymore, only assembled ones.
    Even Morgan, often mentioned as the last man standing, is full of parts made abroad, such as its BMW engine.
    And don’t delude yourselves, British car manufacturing did not die because of EU regulations.
    It died because of a strange (some say typical British) stubborn persistance in holding on to what-is.
    In this case keep producing bad quality, generally unreliable, out-of-date products that simply couldn’t keep up anymore with the competition made elsewere on the globe.
    FYI I’ve owned a few original Brit cars in my life (Austin Seven, Spitfire x2, Vitesse, XJ6 ao). They were nice looking but poorly designed, bad quality cars that all required an outrageous amount of maintenance, and still more than once failed on me.

  23. MINI – A British Design Classic on October 29, 2019 at 10:32 am

    […] the MINI is responsible for completely revolutionising the small car market by becoming one of the best-selling British cars in […]

  24. Bill Carter on November 1, 2019 at 7:40 am

    Unfortunately the British car industry was plagued by lack of investment. Both Germany and Far East manufactures had to rebuild following WW2 and therefore invested in new machinery which improved build quality. The U.K. kept getting by with old, worn out plants which destroyed the quality of the product. We should remember that we have had some of the greatest minds in the automotive world who are British and be proud of that. By the way, the people who state that Vauxhall is owned by GM are out of date. Is was sold to PSA a few years ago and they are now merging with FCA.

  25. Charles Bennett on December 29, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Funny how no one mentions the appalling atitudes of the trade unions during the seventies. It was they who killed the British owned car manufacturers with ridiculous closed shop rules, demarcation rules (remember those?); and agressive industrial relations. Having destroyed the British firms they then signed up to extraordinarily generous deals with foreign manufacturers. These idiots are mostly dead now but the damage they, and a foolish, complicit, electorate, managed to inflict on the economy will last a long time yet.

    • Michael Raymond Myers on January 18, 2022 at 3:39 pm

      I commented below where I agreed with you in every point. (just forgot to to click on “reply”)

  26. pedro on April 7, 2020 at 1:18 pm


  27. wayneroger on July 27, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    good article nice content and this info is very useful to us thank you for this post great job

  28. Michael Raymond Myers on January 18, 2022 at 3:36 pm

    Interesting comments. I have to agree with MennoB and Charles Bennet. I’ve lived in both Germany and West Germany. During the pre-Thatcher days, I often remembered when Germans said to me they would like to buy a Rover or Triumph but they couldn’t rely on getting spare-parts if anything went wrong. And unfortunately things often went wrong. I put it down to the Arthur Scargill’s (Net Worth 2020 $15 Million) “everybody out” mentality from the say, “hubcap union” etc halting all production. How many times did I hear on the news, this or that company’s on strike again. I remember starting my first job as a young engineer. I was obliged to join the union. The boss told me what to do…my trade-union leader told me what NOT to do. The decline of the British automobile industry, meaning the British-owned ending up with us becoming only a nation of assemblers reminds me of the Premier League where the top clubs (ManCity, Chelsea, ManU, Newcastle) are all owned by Americans, Russians and Arabs. My uncle had a BSA Golden Flash with side-car. I had a Norton Commando. Now, the UK police drive and ride BMW. The top bike races include only Japanese bikes. It’s a shame.

  29. Marcus Wills on April 4, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    Thanks for the informative information on British made car.

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