Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Car production down 55% in April

UK car production fell 55.3% in April compared with a year earlier, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

A total of 68,258 cars were made in April, with the total for the year to date about 251,268 cars.

In April, 56,267 cars were exported, a drop of 53.4% compared with April 2008.

Overall vehicle production - including commercial vehicles - fell 56.5% to 75, 913 in April. Carmakers are cutting production as the recession takes hold.

Commercial vehicle production fell by 65.2% to 7,655 in April, with the year-to-date production down 63.6% at 29,950 vehicles.

More cars were made in April than in March, when the UK produced 61,829 cars, a 51.3% drop on March 2008.

The car sector has been one of the hardest hit by the global slowdown, as consumers cut back on big-ticket purchases, forcing global car companies to cut production and staffing levels.

Slow recovery

Under a new government scheme, cars that are more than 10 years old can be scrapped in return for a £2,000 discount on a new model.

The scrappage scheme should boost sales, an SMMT spokeswoman told BBC News.

But it will take a few months for this rising demand to feed through into greater production.

"There are some signs that production is beginning to pick up. We are starting to see some good signs, but it is going to be a protracted recovery on the production side," she said.

"We will start to see a pick-up towards end of summer, beginning of autumn. It will be some time before we regain the numbers that we were seeing towards the middle of last year," she added.

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: "Despite the current difficulties, the UK must prepare for the return of global growth and government support for the industry is an essential part of the process."

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