UK fleets and motorists spend around £21.1 billion each year on servicing and repairing their vehicles, making British cars among the best maintained in the world, according to a new report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The SMMT conducted the first ever industry analysis of the automotive aftermarket in the UK, and the report was published this week. Titled _ appropriately - The Importance of the Aftermarket to the UK Economy, the report was put together by independent research consultancy Frost & Sullivan. It showed that an average of £695.39 was spent on car maintenance each year in the UK, a substantial increase on the £621.62 spent elsewhere in the world. The report also stated that there are far fewer cars in states of disrepair than in many other markets around the world, and that there is less excess pollution on the UK's roads as a result. A number of other factors go into making the industry a success, including a strong franchised dealer network and a high percentage of independently owned businesses. Indeed, in terms of sectors, the UK aftermarket carries the highest number of independently owned businesses in Europe at 64 per cent. As a result, consumers always have plenty of options when it comes to getting their car serviced, and can also shop at a variety of price points. The latter is especially valuable: parts and labour costs from independent businesses can be as much as 65 per cent and 45 per cent cheaper than from chains. The report also highlighted the significant contribution to the economy that the aftermarket makes. £12.2 billion is directly contributed to the economy each year, and the industry is responsible for more than 345,000 British jobs. It's estimated that by 2022, the automotive aftermarket could be worth more than £28 billion and be responsible for over 400,000 jobs. Mike Hawes, chief executive, SMTT, said: 'The UK's aftermarket is one of the most competitive in the world and plays a critical role in keeping Britain's 30 million-plus cars roadworthy. 'Robust competition and a strong independent sector have helped reduce the cost of vehicle ownership in the UK and provided greater choice to consumers. For this growth to be sustained, however, the sector must stay abreast of evolving vehicle technologies and changing mobility patterns.î The UK aftermarket is currently the fourth largest in Europe, with more than 30 million vehicles making use of regular servicing and maintenance work. The size of the industry is also likely to overtake France in 2022, becoming the third largest. The industry is also the eighth largest sector of its kind in the world; larger than those found in Brazil, Korea, and even India.