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Motorcar Exports

Volume 463: debated on Monday 28 March 1949

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asked the Minister of Supply whether in view of the fact that the system known in the motor industry as "Completely Knocked Down," by which unassembled cars are exported for assembly abroad, is causing unemployment among motor workers in Britain and fostering future competition from those countries which are now building up their own motor industries, he will take the necessary action to regulate such trade.

No, Sir. I am satisfied that the motor industry is exporting as many assembled cars as possible, and exports them unassembled only when it is necessary to obtain entry into the markets concerned.

While recognising the difficulties described by my right hon. Friend, is it not the case that only last week 250 motor assemblers were declared redundant in Coventry? Is it not clear that the more motorcars sent abroad unassembled, the greater amount of unemployment there will be among British assembly workers?

Yes, Sir. Every effort is made to export as many assembled cars as possible. I understand that the people to whom my hon. Friend refers were declared redundant last week for a different cause, namely, a temporary difficulty in the tractor production of a certain firm.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the tractor production to which he has referred is an entirely separate case, and the case to which I referred concerns Fisher and Ludlow, who are concerned with making motor bodies?

Can the right hon. Gentleman throw any light on the name of the system and tell us what it means?

I cannot throw much light on the origin of these words, but it means exporting unassembled cars which are assembled in the importing country.

Will the Minister bear in mind that where it is not possible to export assembled motorcars, it is much better to export them knocked down than not to export them at all?


asked the Minister of Supply if he will give an assurance that the supply of cars for the home market will not be increased while motor manufacturers are unable to obtain sufficient steel for export purposes.

There is no intention to increase the supply of cars to the home market at the expense of exports.