UK car production fell by 51.3 per cent last month, according to industry figures disclosed today.
Cars produced for export comprised about 75 per cent of the vehicles made in the UK in March, figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) indicated, and production fell by 51.3 per cent in March as manufacturers reduced production to cope with falling demand.
Cars made for the domestic market fell by 47.2 per cent in March.
The latest chapter in the decline of the car industry comes just after the Budget confirmed details of a scrappage plan, whereby people will receive £2,000 to swap a car more than a decade old for a new model.
Paul Everitt, the chief executive of SMMT, said: “The figures show that urgent action is necessary to kick-start demand in the motor industry and the introduction of a UK scrappage incentive scheme is an important first step.
“Efforts to restore confidence and improve access to finance, particularly for companies in the supply chain, are key to sustaining our industrial capability.
“The motor industry has an essential role in the UK’s economic future, but it will be some months before we see any significant increase in output.”
Thousands of jobs have been cut in the UK car industry in the past few months, and many more workers have had their hours cut.
The industry has had a torrid year, with sales dropping around the world as consumers delay big-ticket purchases because of uncertainty about employment and about the future of the economy.
Car companies will have to pay half of the £2,000 scrappage incentive, but may choose to do so if the alternative is further steep sales declines.
The total number of cars produced in March in the UK was 61,829, of which 46,458 were for export, down 52.6 per cent on the year, and 15,371 for the domestic market, a fall of 47.2 per cent.
The number of commercial vehicles such as vans and trucks made in March fell by 57.1 per cent, bringing the fall in the first three months of 2009 to 63 per cent as businesses held off investing in new transport.
Almost eight in ten of these vehicles were made for export.
April 24, 2009
Source: Times Online