The number of UK-built cars exported increased significantly over the past five years with China becoming a key recipient, a Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) report has revealed.

The UK exported 1,195,190 cars to more than 100 countries in 2014, marking a 54.7% rise compared to 2009 when 772,210 cars were exported.

As a result of the increase, in 2014 the automotive sector represented a greater share of total UK exports than even before, accounting for 11.2% of revenue (£26.2bn), according to the SMMT.

Last year, China was the largest single market for UK-built cars after the UK. There were 137,410 cars exported to China in 2014, a seven-fold increase compared to 2009.

Asia is now the UK automotive industry’s largest export market after Europe, with 18.5% of all cars destined for the region.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "Economic growth in Asia over the last five years has seen demand for new cars accelerate massively. A desire for high-quality premium vehicles with a strong brand heritage has placed the UK in a prime position to take advantage of this emerging market. The British car industry’s success in the region is down to the quality of our globally competitive products built with our engineering excellence and our highly skilled workforce."

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By GlobalData

The growth in the Asian market has also contributed to increase the average export value of UK-built cars from £10,200 in 2004 to £21,900 in 2014.

A total of 1.5m cars were manufactured in the UK in 2014, of which 78.2% were destined for export.