LONDON Nov 24 Britain made fewer cars last
month for the first time in more than a year, driven by slower
domestic demand and prompting the industry's lobby group to
renew its call for the government to maintain free trade as
Britain leaves the European Union.
Overall output fell by an annual 1 percent to 151,795 units
in October, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
(SMMT) said on Thursday, although year-to-date volumes remain on
course to beat the ten-year high achieved in 2015.
Demand for the 81 percent of British-built models which were
exported rose marginally in October, but there was a 10.9
percent drop in the output destined for British buyers.
The SMMT said that model changes, which can reduce output as
manufacturers phase out older products and bring in newer
vehicles, had an impact on the monthly figures.
But separate car registrations data shows that overall sales
growth has slowed since the June 23 referendum and rising
business demand has compensated for a fall in sales to
individuals in every month since April.
Britain's overwhelmingly foreign-owned car industry backed
EU membership ahead of the vote and Nissan, which
operates the country's largest plant, sought guarantees that its
cars would not face tariffs before committing to a major
SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said the data showed the
need for government to guarantee that it would not become more
expensive to sell British-made vehicles abroad.
"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," he said.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Alexander Smith)