LONDON Feb 23 British car production rose by an
annual 7.5 percent in January to hit its highest since 2008, as
strong demand for exports compensated for a decline in demand at
home, an industry body said on Thursday.
Overall output hit 147,922 vehicles due to a 10.8 percent
increase in sales to overseas markets, according to the Society
of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)
However, there are concerns about the future of production
at General Motors' British car plant after French
carmaker Peugeot said it was considering a takeover of
GM's European operations, which are branded as Vauxhall in
Britain and Opel on the continent.
Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant in northern England built
nearly 120,000 vehicles out of a UK total of 1.72 million cars
last year. Politicians and unions are seeking guarantees from
Peugeot over future output.
Britain's overwhelmingly foreign-owned car industry, which
backed remaining in the European Union, is also worried about
any potential tariffs as a result of Brexit which could make
production at their plants uncompetitive.
"Future growth will depend upon maintaining our
competitiveness, not least in terms of securing a future trade
deal with the EU that allows us tariff-free access to our
biggest market," SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Mark Potter)