UK car output slumps 18 percent in January

February 28, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – British new car production nosedived 18.2 percent in January, the eighth successive month of annual declines, due to model changes and weaker demand both in Britain and major export markets, an automotive industry body said on Thursday.

Output dropped to 120,649 vehicles last month hit by a 21.4 percent fall in exports, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

“The industry faces myriad challenges, from falling demand in key markets, to escalating global trade tensions and the need to stay at the forefront of future technology,” said SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes.

“But, the clear and present danger remains the threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, which is monopolizing time and resources, undermining competitiveness.”

Britain’s once-soaring car industry is now recording falling sales, investment and production, with Honda delivering the most serious blow earlier this month, announcing the closure of its British factory, which builds over 10 percent of the country’s 1.5 million cars.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison)

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