Continental slump dents British car production

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The Independent Online
THE SLUMP in the Continental car market prompted a savage cutback in the November production of vehicles for export, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Production for export plummeted by 29.6 per cent to 51,560 cars, compared with 73,288 in November 1992.

However, the improving domestic market meant that overall car production rose by almost 10 per cent in November to 128,401, compared with 116,799 in the same period last year.

The SMMT said that the situation in Europe this year was disastrous, with new car sales falling in all countries other than the UK. The European market was down by 15 per cent so far this year, but the SMMT said it did not expect the decline to persist into the second half of 1994.

In the first 11 months of the year, UK car production totalled 1.29 million, which is 7.69 per cent ahead of last year. Production for overseas markets during that period has fallen by 6.38 per cent to 500,817 cars. New car sales in the UK this year are now expected to be above the SMMT's October forecast of 1.76 million, compared with 1.59 million in 1992.

The SMMT also said that commercial vehicle production in November had risen - for the first time since January - by 14.3 per cent to 21,914 vehicles. A spokesman for the SMMT welcomed the rise but added that 'the commercial vehicle sector is still right on the floor'.

He said sales in the commercial market had been so bad that there was probably now a need to replace worn-out vehicles, regardless of whether there was any fundamental recovery under way.

In spite of the November rise, production of commercial vehicles between January and November was still 22 per cent lower than a year ago.