Figures for the full year were less dramatic, with a 5.7 per cent decline. This reflects strong sales in the first half of the year.
But it also shows how hard the credit crunch has hit car dealers and the motor industry.
SMMT chief exec Paul Everitt confirmed this. ‘UK vehicle production figures for 2008 demonstrate both the strength of the sector and the very dramatic fall in demand in the last quarter.
‘SMMT has been in close discussion with UK government on the urgent need to improve access to credit and kick-start demand in the market, in order to sustain valuable industrial capability during this exceptionally difficult period.’
He took the opportunity to reveal the latest stage in developments here. ‘SMMT is looking forward to meeting with Lord Mandelson before the end of January, to receive Government’s response to the proposals we submitted at our November meeting.’
Car dealers will be keeping their fingers crossed. In the meantime, here’s the lowlights of the figures…
TOTAL 2008 CAR PRODUCTION: 1,446,619
Decline over 2007: -5.7 per cent
TOTAL DECEMBER CAR PRODUCTION: 53,823
Decline over 2007: -47.5 per cent
December 2008 homebound cars: -61.6 per cent
December 2008 export cars: -44.4 per cent