I’ve just come out of a press briefing at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in central London.
Paul Everett, chief executive of the SMMT, arrived, hot foot, from his meeting with Business Secretary Lord Mandelson.
Although Everett was clearly keen not to ruffle Lord M’s ermine, it was obvious that the SMMT wanted to press the emergency button on the issue of credit.
The car industry needs access to credit – both for car buyers and for the industry itself - and the SMMT said it was ‘underlining the urgency of the situation’.
‘The credit issue is very important and at the top of our list. We need to use it as a bridge across the period of the recession and make sure we still have the industrial capacity to take advantage of the upturn’ Everett said.
It seems that Lord M has now taken this on board – possibly in light of the reaction to the rather modest medium and long-term aid package unveiled yesterday.
However, Lord M and his officials did point out that only banks could access the Bank of England bailout funds, and not the finance arms of car companies. So Government officials are now looking into a way of short-circuiting this hurdle.