March 28, 2018 / 11:23 PM / a month ago

UK car output falls in February as domestic demand slumps

LONDON (Reuters) - British car production fell 4.4 percent in February, dragged down by the seventh consecutive monthly decline in domestic demand as sales in Europe’s second biggest car market continue to slump, an industry body said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO - Jaguar cars are seen parked in rows at the Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham, central England, January 19, 2009. REUTERS/Darren Staples/File Photo

Factories churned out 145,475 vehicles last month, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

“Another month of double-digit decline in production for the UK is of considerable concern, but we hope that the degree of certainty provided by last week’s Brexit transition agreement will help stimulate business and consumer confidence over the coming months,” said SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes.

London and Brussels agreed a deal which will see Britain retain free and unfettered trade with the European Union until at least the end of 2020 - 21 months after it formally leaves the EU - although trading arrangements after that date are subject to future talks.

The SMMT has called on Prime Minister Theresa May to secure a long-term agreement that maintains Britain’s competitiveness, since several investment decisions loom in the next 12 months.

Peugeot (PEUP.PA) will decide whether to keep open its Vauxhall Ellesmere Port plant with new model investment, while Britain’s biggest automaker Jaguar Land Rover (TAMO.NS) is due to choose whether to build electric cars in its home market.

    Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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