Car manufacturing in the UK fell last year for the first time since 2009. According to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 1.67 million cars left UK factories in 2017, a decline of 3% compared with the year before. The SMMT says lower demand from UK consumers was the main reason for the fall, although exports also dipped. New investment in the UK motor industry shrank as well, falling to £1.1bn last year, compared with £1.66bn in 2016. Despite the decline last year, manufacturing in the UK remains high by historical standards, having risen steadily in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The number of cars that rolled off the production lines in 2017 was still the second highest since the turn of the century. But the SMMT remains concerned about the effects of falling business and consumer confidence, as well as what it calls confusion over the government’s policy on diesel. Output for the domestic market fell by 9.8%, reflecting a decline in new car sales, which gathered pace towards the end of the year. Overseas demand continued to dominate production, with almost eight in every 10 cars built being sent abroad, more than half of them to the rest of the European Union.