HC Deb 19 December 1967 vol 756 cc1064-5
8. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Minister of Technology what estimate he has made of the output and export of cars during 1968 following devaluation and the change in hire-purchase conditions.

Mr. Fowler

My right hon. Friend expects car output in 1968 to be significantly higher than this year, mainly as a result of an increase in exports following the competitive advantages offered by devaluation.

Mr. Roberts

Is my hon. Friend aware that that news will be very welcome in South Bedfordshire and other car-producing areas. Can he indicate whether the total output of cars and commercial vehicles in 1968 is likely to be anywhere near the peak total of 2½ million in 1964?

Mr. Fowler

It is much too early to give such a detailed forecast. We certainly hope that production will be high, but I would not like to give precise figures.

Mr. David Price

Was the Minister's reply to his hon. Friend based on market analysis or was it merely a hope, bearing in mind the statement made by the Ford Motor Company of the effect of devaluation on sales in the first year of devaluation? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many people in the motor car industry take the view that the first year will be difficult and that the real prospects of better sales from devaluation will come in the second year?

Mr. Fowler

The assessments made by individual companies vary widely. We in the Ministry of Technology are waiting for the final assessments of the individual motor car companies. It is still too early to give any realistic or precise figures.

10. Mr. Barnes

asked the Minister of Technology what arrangements he has made with the motor industry for implementing the recommendations of the National Board for Prices and Incomes regarding the dealer franchise system; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Fowler

I have nothing to add to the reply I gave my hon. Friend on 14th November, in which I said that discussions were in progress.—[Vol. 754, c. 57.]

Mr. Barnes

Would my hon. Friend not agree that this is a very important report, because it could lead to the public getting a better deal from the motor industry than it has got now? Could he give an assurance that the little Neddy which has been set up to look at the garage side of the business will be brought into the discussions that are now taking place?

Mr. Fowler

I agree with my hon. Friend about the importance of this report. I assure him that the E.D.C. for vehicle distribution and repair has already discussed the report.

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