Car production in Britain slumped 51.3 percent in March compared with a year earlier, industry body SMMT said Friday, as the nation's worst recession since World War II slams the brakes on demand.
A total 61,829 cars were made last month, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said in a statement published in a week that saw Britain's government launch a scheme to encourage the purchase of new vehicles.
"The motor industry has an essential role in the UK's economic future, but it will be some months before we see any significant increase in output," SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said in the statement.
The government on Wednesday announced it would pay drivers to swap old cars for new ones under a scheme to boost Britain's stricken auto sector, mirroring moves in Germany and other European nations.
British taxpayers would provide motorists with a 2,000-pound (2,260-euro, 2,930-dollar) discount on new cars bought when they trade in cars over 10 years old.
The move, which the government estimates will cost around 300 million pounds, runs to March 2010.