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UK car production down in December

UK car production fell by 47.5% in December and was down 5.7% in 2008 according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: “UK vehicle production figures for 2008 demonstrate both the strength of the sector and the very dramatic fall in demand in the last quarter.

“UK facilities are globally competitive with high productivity levels and hugely attractive model line-ups. Exports account for 75% of all UK vehicle production, serving more than 100 markets around the world.”

The SMMT is in close discussions with the Government to improve access to credit and kick-start demand in the market.

Everitt said: “The SMMT is looking forward to meeting with Lord Mandelson before the end of January to receive the Government's response to the proposals we submitted at our November meeting.”

Support measures proposed are:

• Allowing manufacturers’ finance companies access to the funding available
to banks through the special liquidity arrangements. This would allow them to support customers and their franchise networks.
• Scrapping plans for increased VED and new first year rate. This would
provide a strong signal to buyers and help to improve residual values.
• Increased capital allowances for fleet buyers, particularly for buyers of
commercial vehicles, to stimulate immediate demand.
• Shelve plans for reform of business car capital allowances, as overall
impact and timing is unhelpful.
• Remove expensive car restrictions under capital allowances to help demand
for UK higher end manufacturers.
And, manufacturing support to include:
• National arrangements to allow manufacturers and suppliers access to loan
facilities, including potential government guarantees, to maintain liquidity and investment.
• Help to speed up the allocation of existing funding to support training,
R&D projects and energy efficiency measures. This would help upskill employees, accelerate innovation and provide an immediate stimulus for green collar jobs.

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