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November was another poor month for Britain’s car industry, which has been hit by falling demand in 2017 as consumers faced with Brexit uncertainty and falling real pay become less willing to splash out on big purchases.
The number of cars made in British factories last month and destined for the UK market plunged 28% to 24,276 according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). It was the fourth month in a row of falling domestic demand, and the biggest drop of 2017.
There was however a 1.3% rise in cars made in the UK and destined for export markets, as other economies fare better than Britain. Cars built to be shipped abroad totalled 137,214 and accounted for 85% of the total.
Overall, car production fell 4.6% in November, as 161,490 cars left UK factories.
The figures underline just how reliant on foreign trade the UK car industry is.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said:
Brexit uncertainty, coupled with confusion over diesel taxation and air quality plans, continues to impact domestic demand for new cars and, with it, production output. Whilst it is good to see exports grow in November, this only reinforces how overseas demand remains the driving force for UK car manufacturing.
Clarity on the nature of our future overseas trading relationships, including details on transition arrangements with the EU, is vital for future growth and success.
Also coming up today:
9.30 GMT: UK public finances data will show how much money the government had to borrow in November
1.30pm GMT: The third estimate of US GDP in the third quarter will give the latest snapshot of the health of the world’s largest economy
1.30pm GMT: US weekly jobless claims figures will provide insight into America’s labour market