The head of Jaguar Land Rover has called for quicker government support to give automakers credit during the economic crisis.
JLR CEO David Smith said the UK industry needs help similar to what has been granted in other European countries and the US.
"It would now be a tragedy were the aid package not to be delivered in time to avert the industrial consequences of another quarter like this one," Smith told an industry dinner in Birmingham, central England, February 5.
The UK government has announced £2.3 billion (about 2.6 billion) in loan guarantees to support the industry. So far, no guarantees have been given as the government works out the details with the European Union.
JLR says it needs access to credit to help offset losses caused by the global slowdown in new car sales. The company said its global unit sales fell by 35 percent in the last quarter of 2008. The company declined to provide more detailed figures.
JLR expects unit sales to fall by about 30 percent this year.
Smith said Germany, France, Sweden and the US have given billions to support their automakers.
Smith said that JLR is not a "basket case" in need of handouts.
He said was motivated to make the comments following reports that gave the impression JLR is a company making "outdated and unwanted vehicles, desperate for a state handout to delay the inevitable."
"This is a view of our company, and indeed the British motor industry, which seems to be written by people who've been asleep since the 1970s," Smith said. "It is certainly not a picture I recognize or that is supported by the facts."
JLR has had discussions with the UK government about loan guarantees so it can access short-term loans.
Smith said he wanted the government aid to provide companies the access to credit they be would normally get from the banks, who he blamed for causing the crisis.
"Short-term loans or loan guarantees are necessary to keep the wheels turning during what is a once-in-a-century economic recession fixing problems of credit insurance and stimulating consumer demand," said Smith. "Somebody needs to put oil back into the engine."