The battle surrounding the exchange rates and restructuring work at UK car plants has been blamed for the fall in car production in the UK last year.
Car production fell in 2000 by 8.8% to 1.63m (1999: 1.79m)units and by 32.3% in December to 96,507 (Dec 1999: 142,529), according to figures released today by the Office for National Statistics.
Christopher Macgowan, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' chief executive, said: "Last year was a particularly difficult one for car manufacturers. The restructuring work at several UK plants had an impact on output and the industry continues to battle against unfavourable exchange rates.
"The introduction of the climate change levy this year will increase costs further and while huge advances are being made in plant efficiency, the high rate of the pound and low rate of the euro coupled with damaging taxation erodes the UK's competitive advantage."