Written by Robin Brown ▼

Which cars are built in Britain?

Which cars are built in Britain?

In anticipation of some curiosity regarding which modern cars are built in the UK, we've produced a rundown of all of the volume cars that can lay claim to being British.

While no British car industry exists in the truest sense any more, there are still nominally-British marques such as Jaguar Land Rover that design and build all of their models in the UK.

Also, there are several manufactures that have design and build some of their models in the UK, making those models undeniably British, even if the parent company hails from abroad.

The government and 'British' car industry will be hoping that the scrappage scheme announced in the Budget results in a noticeable boost for manufacturers that build models in the UK.

Anticipating the confusion over which cars can lay claim to being British, we've produced a list below of the British-built models currently on sale in the UK so if you want to buy British, you have a good idea of the choice available.


Jaguar manufacturers all of its models in England, including the X-Type (currently on run out), XF, XK and XJ.

The X-Type is manufactured at Halewood outside Liverpool, alongside the Land Rover Freelander, while the other models are produced at Castle Bromwich, near Birmingham.

Some components now come from India, where Jaguar Land Rover's parent company, Tata, are based, but Jag can realistically claim that its models are about as British as cars come.

Jaguar's HQ and R&D facilities are located at Gaydon in the Midlands, where its models are designed. It employs around 10,000 people in the UK.

• British-built cars: Jaguar X-Type, Jaguar XF, Jaguar XJ, Jaguar XK

Land Rover

Jag's sister company is also owned by Tata, following its sale by Ford in 2008, and assembles most of its models at Halewood, Merseyside, and Solihull, outside Birmingham.

The Freelander is built at Halewood, while the Discovery, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport are built at Solihull.

Defender models are built at a number of locations around Europe, though there's speculation that Defender production may move to India.

As with Jaguar, Land Rover's HQ and R&D facilities are located at Gaydon, where its models are designed. It employs around 9,000 people in the UK.

• British-built cars: Land Rover Freelander, Land Rover Discovery, Land Rover Range Rover, Land Rover Range Rover Sport


Famed for its classic luxury vehicles, and more recently beloved of Premiership footballers, Bentley is owned by Volkswagen, although its HQ and manufacturing plant is situated in Crewe.

Bentley designs and assembles its Arnage and Continental series models at Crewe, though hybrid technologies borrowed from Volkswagen are likely to find their way into models in the future and engines and parts from VW are currently used..

Bentley employs around 3,500 people in the UK and works closely with the local community. It offers a coveted apprenticeship programme.

• British-built cars: Bentley Arnage, Bentley Azure, Bentley Brooklands, Bentley Continental Flying Spur, Bentley Continental GT, Bentley Continental GTC


Owned by BMW, Mini's HQ and manufacturing plant is based at Cowley, outside Oxford.

The Mini, Mini Cooper and Mini Clubman are currently produced in the UK.

Mini employs around 4,500 people at Cowley and several hundred more at Hams Hall and Swindon that produce body panels and engines for the Mini models.

• British-built cars: Mini One, Mini Cooper, Mini Cooper S, Mini Cooper Cabriolet, Mini Clubman


Bentley's old sparring partner has its HQ at Goodwood, where it produces all of its models, though it is owned by BMW.

Rolls currently produces the Phantom, Phantom Coupe and Phantom Drophead Coupe, with the 'baby Roll's Ghost launched in 2010.

BMW supplies engines and parts come from a variety of sources in Europe, but all assembly is carries out in the UK. Rolls-Royce employs around 600 people in the UK.

• British-built cars: Rolls-Royce Phantom, Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe and Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, Rolls-Royce Ghost (from 2010)

Aston Martin

Currently owned by a consortium of private investors headed by Prodrive owner Dave Richards following its sale by Ford in 2008, Aston is based at Gaydon in Warwickshire on the same site as Jaguar, Land Rover and the British Motor Heritage Centre.

Aston designs and assembles all of its models – including the Vantage, DB9, DBS and One-77 at – Gaydon. The Rapide GT was designed at Gaydon but will be built by Magna Steyr. Aston is also planning to relaunch the Lagonda brand by 2010.

Aston employs around 1200 people in the UK

• British-built cars: Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Aston Martin V12 Vantage, Aston Martin DB9, Aston Martin DBS, Aston Martin One-77


Sports and racing car marque Group Lotus, incorporating Lotus Cars and Lotus Engineering, is currently owned by Malaysian manufacturers Proton, but retains its headquarters at Hethel in Norfolk.

Lotus designs and assembles the Elise, Exige, Europa, 2-Eleven and Evora at Hethel, where it also carries out engineering work and provides body shells for the electric Tesla Roadster. Engines tend to be sourced from foreign manufactures.

Lotus employs around 800 people at Hethel.

• British-built cars: Lotus Elise, Lotus Exige, Lotus Europa, Lotus Evora, Lotus 2-Eleven


Now owned by Chinese manufacturer SAIC, MG produces a limited number of TF sports cars at the old Rover site at Longbridge.

MG may yet launch other models, likely to be based on old MG Rover designs, and build them at the plant but nothing has been confirmed. MG currently employs around 200 people in the UK.

• British-built cars: MG TF


Taxi-builders LTI are responsible for pretty much all the black cabs currently on British roads, and currently build the TX4 cab.

LTI currently employs around 500 people in the UK.

• British-built cars: LTI TX4


Although it does not manufacture any cars in the UK, Ford produces engines at Dagenham, and manufactures the Ford Transit van at Southampton, although it also produces the vans at a plant in Turkey.

Ford has earmarked the Southampton factory for closure by 2011, when production of the Transit will move to Turkey. Around 850 jobs, currently at Southampton, will be lost.

Wind-powered Ford Dagenham produces diesel engines for its range of small cars, while an R&D facility in Essex employs around 3,000 and works on new engines, commercial vehicles and transmissions.

Other sites in Bridgend produce petrol engines, while at Halewood Ford works on transmissions with Getrag. Ford currently employs around 13,000 in the UK.

• British-built models: Ford Transit (until 2011)


GM-owned Vauxhall produces the Vivaro van at Luton and the Astra/Astravan at Ellesmere Port.

GM employs around 5,000 Vauxhall workers in the UK, though there is significant uncertainty surrounding GM's continued ownership of Vauxhall and the future of Vauxhall plants in the UK.

Vauxhall's HQ and a GM design studio are also situated in the UK.

• British-built cars: Vauxhall Astra, Vauxhall Astravan, Vauxall Vivaro


Nissan says it produces the most cars of any manufacturing operation in the UK at its Wearside plant where the Micra, Note, Qashqai and Qashqai +2 are built.

Nissan employs around 2,800 people in the UK. A new model, based on the Qazana concept, is slated to be built at Sunderland from 2010.

• British-built cars: Nissan Micra, Nissan Note, Nissan Qashqai, Nissan Qashqai+2


Toyota builds the Avensis saloon and Auris hatch at its Burnaston plant in Derbyshire.

Toyota employs 4,300 overall, split between Burnaston and a petrol engine plant located at Deeside in North Wales.

• British-built cars: Toyota Auris, Toyota Avensis


Honda builds the Civic hatch and CR-V crossover SUV at its Swindon plant, and will add production of the Jazz supermini from later in 2009.

Honda employs around 4,000 people in the UK.

• British-built cars: Honda Civic, Honda CR-V

Low volume or currently inactive

A number of small-volume manufacturers produce cars largely designed and built in the UK. They include Caterham, Bristol, Ariel, Ascari, Keating, Noble, Morgan, Westfield, Caparo and Marcos.

TVR's current situation is unknown, though it is not currently producing cars.

McLaren has announced that it will start building road cars in the near future.

Russian-owned commercial-vehicle manufacturer LDV employs around 2,000 people and produces the Maxus van. It has applied for administration and will go into administration by 6 May if further investment is not found.