Page last updated at 11:47 GMT, Friday, 22 January 2010

UK car production slumped in 2009

A Toyota Avensis rolls off the production line at the company's Burnaston plant in Derbyshire
2009 was a tough year for the car industry

UK car production fell 30.9% in 2009 from the previous year following the collapse in the global car market, industry figures have shown.

Just under one million cars were made in the UK last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT).

The fall in production came despite a strong December, which saw production rebound by more than 58% compared with December 2008.

However, the SMMT warned that 2010 would remain tough for manufacturers.

"The significant rise in December vehicle production is welcome news and signals some greater stability across global automotive markets," said Paul Everitt, chief executive of the SMMT.

"We expect the year ahead to be extremely challenging... [and] car and commercial vehicle production will remain well below pre-recession levels."

Commercial vehicle production was down more than 55% in 2009, the figures show.

Scrappage effect

Car production fell globally last year in response to the collapse in demand for cars following the economic downturn.

However, the government's car scrappage scheme, introduced in May and extended in September, was credited with boosting demand.

The SMMT estimates the scheme - which offers a £2,000 incentive to scrap old cars and buy new ones - has been responsible for about a fifth of all new car registrations since its introduction in May last year.

However, the scheme is expected to run out of funding in February.

"Consumers still wanting to benefit from the scheme should put their orders in quickly as time is running out," said a spokesman from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

The spokesman added that the industry had "responded well to challenges" in 2009, using temporary cuts in production to prevent permanent loss of capacity.

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