The UK is officially in recession for the first time since the early 1990s, government figures have confirmed.
Gross domestic product fell by 1.5% in 2008’s final quarter, following on from a 0.6% decrease in the previous three months.
It is widely accepted that two consecutive quarters of falling economic growth is defined as a recession.
The motor industry has already been broadly affected by the declining economy, with a number of business closures, cut hours and redundancies.
Unemployment in the UK now sees 1.92m people out of work.
Some forecasters believe a recession could stretch into 2010.