By Mark Stillman
The number of UK-built cars hit a six-year high of over 1.5 million units in 2013, according to new figures.
This equates to three vehicles coming off the production line every minute, statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show.
"Surging" demand from home and abroad sparked an output rise of 3.1 per cent.
Motor experts forecast that production rates should reach about 2 million by 2017.
UK predicted to be Europe's third biggest manufacturer
The SMMT predicts the UK is due to become Europe's third biggest car manufacturer after Germany and Spain.
Four-fifths of UK-constructed cars were exported last year, with Chinese, American and Russian drivers taking a strong liking to motoring in them.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "2013 demonstrated the value of the UK's diverse car manufacturing industry, as surging home demand and robust exports outside Europe saw output grow 3.1 per cent to over 1.5 million units.
"UK automotive investment announcements exceeded £2.5 billion in 2013, reinforcing industry analysts' suggestions that the UK could break all-time car output records within the next four years."
'Car industry going from strength to strength'
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Today's figures are another sign that the British car industry is going from strength to strength, with one vehicle rolling off a production line somewhere in the UK every 20 seconds.
"Our success lies in the appetite from countries around the world for British cars.
"Around 80 per cent of the 1.5 million cars we produced last year were exported - a testament to the diverse, high quality of British manufacturing.
"This will give businesses the confidence to invest, speed up development on vehicles of the future and keep the UK as a world leader in cars.
"Our investment of £1 billion jointly with industry will help do this, while also delivering jobs and driving growth."
500 new jobs created at Nissan's Sunderland plant
Nissan manufactured the most cars - over 500,000 - at its Sunderland plant in 2013.
Then came Land Rover (340,000), Toyota (179,000), Mini (174,000), Honda (138,000), Jaguar (78,000) and Vauxhall (73,000).
The announcement comes a day after Nissan's new Qashqai vehicle came off the production line.
This has helped create 500 new jobs in Sunderland, where the workforce is expected to rise to over 7,000 for the first time.