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Friday 19th of December 2008
December 18, 2008

UK car production suffers huge fall


by Kay Murchie
”UK

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have revealed that the number of cars built in November in the UK was down 33% compared with the same month last year.

A fall in demand for new vehicles in the UK and overseas was attributed to the severe decline.

Meanwhile, production of commercial vehicles fell by 50% in November.

The figures come as the Government has been in talks with Jaguar Land Rover over a state bailout. The company has a workforce of 15,000 and was bought by India’s Tata earlier this year for £1.7 billion.

Last month, the company said it faces “unprecedented trading conditions” and production has been cut at its three main UK manufacturing sites since the summer.

Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, said no decision has been made yet and there was not “an open chequebook”.

Earlier this month, the SMMT said new car registrations suffered their steepest monthly fall for 28 years, with expensive sports cars hit particularly badly. Just over 100,000 new cars were registered in November, said the organisation.

Car sales for November fell by 37%, against the same month last year, while the market for private car sales has also been hit badly, down 45.1% in November.

The situation is the same across the Atlantic as the USA’s three major carmakers - General Motors (GM), Ford and Chrysler are suffering.

Chrysler is to close all 30 of its manufacturing plants for a month after it said potential buyers are staying away from their showrooms.

Meanwhile, Ford is to close 10 of its North American assembly plants for an extra week in January.

Just last week, GM said it would close 30% of its North American output.

All three companies have warned that millions of jobs could be lost in the industry if the Government does not agree to a package of loans.

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