Troubled US carmaker General Motors said last night it is closely monitoring the UK, Spanish and Irish markets, to see whether it should cut production due to the economic turmoil.
GM Europe vice president of sales and marketing Brent Dewar said: “The economic headwinds in these three markets are concerning. We have already cut production in Spain and we are monitoring the UK and Ireland on a daily basis.”
Observers will closely watch GM’s Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port, Merseyside, which employs 2,900 people and makes the Astra. It is also a contender to make GM’s hybrid car, the Chevrolet Volt in Europe.
New car registrations fell by 3.5 per cent in May in the UK. And GM sold 143,206 diesel cars in Britain alone between January and May this year.
New UK car registrations for August due to be released today, are expected to be down again.
GM yesterday posted a 20 per cent drop in US August sales as more aggressive discounting on its 2008 line-up headed off the even-deeper decline some analysts had forecast.
GM sales of light trucks, including pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, fell 24 per cent in August from a year earlier while sales of cars dropped about 14 per cent.
GM says it will cut global output in the fourth quarter by 16 per cent.
GM said last week it would trim production at its Figueralas plant in Zaragoza in eastern Spain due to the slowdown in its main markets.