Motor industry rescue package reaction

* Mixed reception to announcement * Consumer credit boost welcomed * Nothing new, say Conservatives...

Author Avatar
What Car? Staff
28 January 2009

Motor industry rescue package  reaction

Reaction to Lord Mandelson's rescue package for car makers has received a mixed reception from the motor industry and leading political figures.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) welcomed the announcement, saying it recognised the importance of the industry.

SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: 'The UK motor industry is productive and globally competitive, with a long-term future at the heart of the low carbon agenda.'

David Smith, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, whose company is in the middle of designing a 'greener' range said: 'We are encouraged by this.'

Firms such as Jaguar are well placed to benefit from the loans guarantee package, which, to comply with strict EU rules, must be used for research and development of environmentally friendly technology.

The news that Lord Mandelson had asked Trade and Investment Minister Mervyn Davies to look into ways of stimulating car sales through improved credit liquidity was also welcomed.

Finance and Leasing Association director general, Stephen Sklaroff, said: 'We are encouraged Lord Mandelson acknowledged the importance of motor finance in helping to kick-start the economy.

'We look forward to early discussions with Mervyn Davies on how best to support all types of lenders to free up credit for new and used cars.'

Tony Woodley, of the union Unite, said the package was 'a massive disappointment to the tens of thousands of workers employed in or dependent on this vital industry'.

He went on to say: 'Two billion pounds sounds like a lot of money, but at least half of this will be taken up by Vauxhall and Jaguar Land Rover alone. The spectre of redundancy is still hovering over thousands of skilled jobs.'

Shadow Business Secretary Ken Clark denounced the package as 'pretty small beer.' He also pointed out that the loans from the EU had been announced last year.