Economic impact of the classic car industry.

Classic cars are not just a hobby, but an important industry in it’s own right. If you are an event organiser or a business applying for a grant or loan, then it might be useful to know the value of what you are a part of. Whether it is a specialist garage carrying out services and repairs, or Aston Martin remaking their most valuable models, the value of this industry is largely under estimated. Add to that specialist events, shows and supporting industries including hotels, restaurants and bars and you can see how it becomes a major contributor to the UK economy.

It is a little known fact that the heritage motor sector turns over £18.3 billion and employs 113,000 people across the supply chain.

A new report shows that the sector is comparable in the scale of its economic impact to all of the UK’s ports, to the arts sector including theatre, publishing and music and is a fifth of the size of the huge UK built heritage sector. It is around half the size of the industry of coffee and coffee shops and twice the size of the whisky, literary, publishing and bookselling industry.

Employment is spread across the UK, helping in areas of low economic growth. London represents just 5% of its activity with the Midlands and East Anglia both double that. Craftspeople and conservation specialists prevail with a healthy line of apprentices in training to help keep the future of industry safe. Contrary to perception, the industry emits miniscule carbon by comparison to the weight of other industry emissions.

The industry is more environmentally friendly than most consumer expenditure in that the sector is based on the use and repair of existing materials, rather than the fabrication of new items. This means a high labour and skills content and low materials and energy content. The UK’s stock of historic vehicles is estimated to be worth £12.6 billion, a major contributor to UK’s heritage compared with the 400 historic buildings and sites looked after by English Heritage which are worth an estimated £30 billion to the economy.

The arts sector comprising music, publishing, and theatre generates 137,000. By comparison, the entire UK Ports industry generates employment for 115,000 people. On the other side the books and related sectors generate 46,000 jobs, while the Scotch whisky sector generates 42,000 jobs. As well as the normal expenditure of 700,000 historic and classic vehicle owners, a host of associated industries also contribute.

Historic Racing contributes £371 million a year, Owner Clubs £111 million and Historic Rallying, where HERO-ERA the commissioners of this report are the leading global company, contributes £253 million. Vehicle museums £62 million and historic vehicle magazines contribute £59 million. In total these businesses contribute £502 million in Gross Value Added to the economy. Historic and classic motorsports events are highly popular at two levels, as great spectator events and for participants who chase a prized entry.

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