03 March 2014

UK Engine Production By Maker : 2013

Ford's Dagenham plant

It may sound an unusual subject, but there is somewhat unique situation in the UK with engine manufacturing. Most countries make a similar number of engines to cars made, but not the UK. This has come about due to Ford, who stopped car production but then decided to make the UK an engine manufacturing location. Something like a quarter of all Ford engines around the world are made there, without one car being manufactured.

Ford has two engine plants, one in Dagenham, England (basis for a movie not so long ago) and the other Bridgend, Wales. Both make a similar amount of units. Dagenham employs just over 1,800 people, while Bridgend in excess of 2,100. Production was slightly down 2% in 2013, not surprising with Europe's depressed situation.

BMW has its engine plant at Hams Hall, Birmingham. It employs about 800 people and makes small, fuel efficient engines for both MINI and BMW models. Production was up 6%.

Nissan engine production in Sunderland  (only petrol engines made there) was the same in 2013 as the year before.

Toyota makes engines in Wales also, in Deeside, North Wales. Approximately 600 people work there, and they had a strong 61% increase.

BMW's Hams Hall facility
Honda has more than 500 'associates' (workers in other words)  making both petrol and diesel engines on the same production line. Total production was down 9%.

Bentley (VW) makes engines at Crewe, England. It is the largest maker of the W12 engine globally.

11 12 13

Share +/-

1 1 1 Ford 1,528,500 60% -2%

2 2 2 BMW 408,100 16% 6%

3 3 3 Nissan 266,100 10% 0%

4 5 4 Toyota 200,400 8% 61%

5 4 5 Honda 139,700 6% -9%

6 6 6 Bentley 10,500 0% 15%

Total 2,553,300

Data source: Thanks to the SMMT.

Making car engines goes under the radar for the media and the public. Cars are what people drive and the engine is but one part of that. However, power, economy and refinement is something that the driver will be aware of and the engine is an important aspect of those dynamics. So a very important part of the car and one built in the UK may be under the bonnet of your vehicle. 


  1. It will be interesting to see what happens when JLR's own engine factory comes on stream. Currently they source their engines from Ford, so presumably the Ford production will decline unless demand from elsewhere takes up the slack.

    Chris G

  2. Hi Chris. Yes, I believe there is a dedicated area in the Ford Bridgend factory making Jaguar engines. I also heard that JLR will have to pay Ford compensation to exit the contract early. It is effectively moving engine production from one part of the UK to another.

  3. Thanks, interesting. It is a bit of a risk by JLR. Clearly the cost of paying Ford for engines is a drag on profitability, but Land Rover in particular has not had a stellar reputation for reliability. The engines are the one rock-solid bit about them. So if JLR get it wrong with their own engine design then it could really scupper their recent renaissance.

  4. I just noticed I accidentally put car instead of engine a couple of times. Must sack my proof reader...eh that's me. Oh well one more chance then. Now corrected.

    Ford engines are fine. I would have personally put more emphasis on getting out the 3-Series rival and SUV for Jaguar, plus the new Defender ready. They are certainly spending the cash.

    Jag reliability is already very good but LR is still a work in progress. People who buy them understand that, or buy something else. Many LR owners have very good reliability with their cars.