The number of cars produced in the UK in 2000 dipped 8.8% to 1.63 million, the Ananova internet news service reports.

Office for National Statistics figures for December show that just 97,000 cars were produced, 32.3% down on December 1999.

For the six months ending December, 2000, total car production fell by 22.9% compared with the previous six months.

There was slightly better news from the commercial vehicle production front with 2000 numbers falling only 0.9% to 184,000, Ananova said.

However, total commercial vehicle production for the six months ending December, 2000, was 31.5% down on the previous six months.

A spokesman for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders told Ananova: "The figures are disappointing and are partly due to a lot of plant restructuring programmes that have taken place.

"We have had the Rover reorganisation and BMW has also been in the throes of setting up new production lines.

"In the short-term, things are not looking good but, in the long-term, things are positive with Jaguar, Land Rover and Toyota among companies set to increase production."

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