December Figures Show Marked Drop in UK Vehicle Production
December vehicle production figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Limited (SMMT) show a sharp drop in UK production of both passenger and commercial vehicles. During the month a total of 58,823 passenger cars were produced in the UK, a 47.5 per cent decrease on the previous year’s December production. Just 6,290 commercial vehicles were manufactured in the UK during December, representing a drop of 56.7 per cent.
Full year figures, tainted by a dismal December, display a slight decline from 2007. A total of 1,446,619 cars were produced in the UK during the year, 5.7 per cent fewer than in 2007. Of this, 1,128,586 vehicles, or 78. 0 per cent, were exported. Yearly production for the commercial vehicle sector amounted to 202,896 units, decline of 5.9 per cent from the previous year. A total of 125,611 UK produced commercial vehicles were exported in 2008, 61.9 per cent of total production.
“UK vehicle production figures for 2008 demonstrate both the strength of the sector and the very dramatic fall in demand in the last quarter,” commented SMMT chief Executive Paul Everitt. “UK facilities are globally competitive with high productivity levels and hugely attractive model line-ups. Exports account for 75 per cent of all UK vehicle production, serving more than 100 markets around the world.
“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,” Everitt added. “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.”