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Industry to meet Mandelson soon

The SMMT and RMIF expect a new meeting this month with business secretary Lord Mandelson to press for easier access to credit across the industry during the deepening car sales crisis.

Registrations slumped 11.3% in 2008 and a further big fall is expected this year. The SMMT is forecasting a slump to 1.78m units in 2009, which would be the lowest annual total since 1992.

No date has yet been offered, but the two trade bodies are united in a determination to press the government for help to safeguard hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: “Vehicle manufacturers, parts suppliers and dealers urgently need access to loans. The government should make no distinction between British firms and those based overseas that have made substantial investments here.”

Concern over slow process

Everitt is concerned the government’s appointment of accountants KPMG and investment bank NM Rothschild could slow the process.

The two groups are assessing the motor industry’s demands and advising government ministers on Tata Group’s complex finances.

Over the past few weeks Tata has injected tens of millions of pounds into Jaguar Land Rover, which it bought last year, but says access to credit is essential to safeguard research and development.

December sales down a fifth

SMMT data released today shows new car registrations fell 21.1% in December to 108,691 units.

The decline was less than expected, possibly in part because VAT was cut to 15% from December 1.

The 2008 market of 2,131,795 units was 11.3% down on 2007’s 2,404,007. 


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