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Car Production Falls For First Time In 14 Months

Car production fell for the first time in 14 months in October because of a drop in domestic demand, according to industry figures.

Car Production Falls

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said 151,795 vehicles were produced – down 1% on October 2015.

It put the reduction down to past manufacturing for the UK market being unsustainable, adding that a fall had been expected for that reason and it was unlikely to reflect fears of a slowdown in the economy following the Brexit vote.

The SMMT said it remained at its highest level since 2005.

The industry body and manufacturers have been more concerned with the potential effects of the referendum on the crucial export market.

The body said exports rose for the 15th month in a row last month, with 122,765 cars built for sale overseas.

Chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: “October’s figures underline the export-led nature of the industry, with eight out of 10 cars built for overseas customers.

“Despite model changes which have ended the consistent growth pattern of the past year or so, we are still on track for a record number of exports.

“Given this dependence on global trade, it is crucial that British-built cars remain attractive to international buyers and exports are not subject to additional tariffs, costs and other barriers to successful trade.

“It is also essential government ensures there is economic stability and a competitive business environment to ensure we continue to attract the global investment that is behind this performance.”

There was a sigh of relief in Westminster last month when Nissan, which had raised fears for the future of its Sunderland plant without assurances on the road ahead, confirmed investment in new models in the North East.

But the revelation forced both the company and Government to deny the existence of a ‘sweetheart deal’ amid questions over what ministers had offered the company to satisfy its concerns.

Competitors, such as the country’s largest producer Jaguar land Rover, have demanded a level playing field and the ground was further muddied on Wednesday when it emerged the Government refused to disclose the details of any financial promises to Nissan to the Office for Budget Responsibility ahead of the Autumn Statement.

The Government has insisted there are no liabilities relating to its assurances “as it currently stands” but it has refused to be drawn on whether this will change once Britain leaves the EU.

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