Car production from UK automotive plants was almost halved in December, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has revealed.
There were 47.5 per cent less cars off the lines in the last month of 2008, bringing the total output for the year 5.8 per cent down on 2007 totals.
The news comes as little surprise since nearly all major motor manufacturers have announced temporary production shut-downs in recent weeks, in response to a big dip in demand and high levels of excess stock as a result.
“UK vehicle production figures for 2008 demonstrate both the strength of the sector and the very dramatic fall in demand in the last quarter. UK facilities are globally competitive with high productivity levels and hugely attractive model line-ups. Exports account for 75% of all UK vehicle production, serving more than 100 markets around the world,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.
“The automotive industry is of strategic economic and social importance, reflected in the measures to support the industry being discussed by governments across Europe and around the world. SMMT has been in close discussion with UK government on the urgent need to improve access to credit and kick-start demand in the market, in order to sustain valuable industrial capability during this exceptionally difficult period. SMMT is looking forward to meeting with Lord Mandelson before the end of January to receive government’s response to the proposals we submitted at our November meeting,” he added.
The CBI’s Industrial Trends Survey for January has revealed that 90 per cent of automotive plants in the UK are not currently operating to full capacity.
The SMMT said it expects further cuts in production in the coming months.