By Daniel Hunter

Car manufacturers in the UK built more than 1.5 million cars in 2014, the highest figure for seven years, according to the Society for Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT).

The industry body said that demand for luxury car brands like Jaguar Land Rover pushed overall sales up 1.2%. One car was produced every 20 seconds, the figures showed.

But, there was a fall in exports for the second year in a row. The popularity and demand for premium and specialist brands has resulted in the value of car exports doubling between 2005 and 2014, however.

Mike Hawes, the SMMT's chief executive, said: "Placed in context, a 1.2% growth in UK car manufacturing in 2014 represents a very successful year.

"The industry has overcome various challenges, including slower than expected EU recovery and weakness in some global markets."

The Nissan factory in Sunderland produced more cars than any other plant with 500,238 built in 2014.

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