Car production slumped by almost a tenth last year، leaving the industry on 'red alert' amid continued uncertainty over Brexit، a new report reveals.
A nine per cent decline in outputs is the biggest slump since the recession in 2008-09 as fears mount for the 850،000 UK jobs in the automotive industry.
Assembly of diesel cars in total was down 22 per cent، with troubled Jaguar Land Rover hit hardest by plummeting demand for oil burners.
Investment by car companies halved in 2018 to £588million a firms held off making decisions about a production future in Britain until trading arrangements between the UK and other countries become clearer. Announcing the official figures، the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said investment had effectively 'stalled' amid fears over the UK's future trading prospects with the EU.
Just over 1.5million cars left UK factories in 2018، a 9.1 per cent decline on the previous year، and the lowest for six years.
But while the motor industry representative heavily pointed the finger at car makers' unwillingness to commit to the UK in the face of Brexit، the slump in diesel demand took a huge toll on UK factories. This took the most significant toll on the nation's biggest car maker، Jaguar Land Rover، which has been forced to cut thousands of jobs at British plants in recent months.
Production of JLR vehicles - of which the majority it sells are diesel powered cars - was down 15.6 per cent، with nearly 450،000 models built in 2018 compared to more than 530،000 a year previous.
The car maker recently confirmed it had shelved plans to build a luxury two-door version of the Range Rover، called the SV Coupe، amidst its ongoing difficulties.
The premium 4x4، of which 999 were scheduled to be made and each costing £240،000 had already been presented to the public at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show، but has been culled in order for the brand to focus 'resources and investment on the next generation of world-class products'، it said.