Britain auto industry reported record car exports in 2012, with volumes sent overseas exceeding 1.2 million units, up by 8 percent year on year, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) here on Thursday. Total vehicle output increased 8 percent last year to 1.58 million units, the highest level since 2008, while car output rose 9 percent in 2012 to 1.46 million units, ending the year with a 6 percent rise in December, according to the SMMT. The country exported 1.27 million vehicles last year, rising 6.8 percent year on year and accounting for 80.9 percent of the total output. Car exports reached 1.21 million units, taking up 82.7 percent of the total. \"2012 was a very good year for UK car production with record levels of exports and volumes at their highest since 2008,\" said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. British Business Secretary Vince Cable described the car production \"a great tribute to our manufacturing strengths, particularly in the face of challenging trading conditions in Europe and strong international competition.\" \"The government is creating a highly supportive business environment to ensure that UK manufacturers continue to flourish as well as encouraging further investment in the UK automotive sector, including the supply chain,\" said Cable. Looking forward to 2013, SMMT Chief Executive Everitt said it remained positive with demand in many faster growing global markets offsetting the continued weakness in European economies. \"The 6 billion pounds of investment committed to Britain\'s facilities, new model programs and R&D signals a bright future and many new opportunities for companies in the supply chain,\" Everitt said. \"These remain extremely challenging times and it is essential industry and government continue to work together to secure long-term industrial growth,\" he said.