Brexit Negotiations Are Crippling UK Car Industry Says Experts

Tue 26th Jun 2018

The slow pace of Brexit negotiations is causing harm to the UK’s motor industry, with investment down by almost half according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

“There is growing frustration in global boardrooms at the slow pace of (Brexit) negotiations,” said Mike Hawes, head of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

“Government must rethink its position on the customs union. The current position, with conflicting messages and red lines goes directly against the interests of the UK automotive sector which has thrived on single market and customs union membership.”

Investment into the UK market fell from 647.4 million pounds in the first half of 2017 to 347.3 million pounds between January and June 21st of this year.

Three of the UK’s biggest business investors, Siemens, Airbus and BMW all warned this week that if the current process of Brexit negotiations continues, their own business will be damaged.

Britain has nine months left in the EU under the current schedule, though many are suggesting that a final deal may not be struck between London and Brussels until the final weeks and months.

At the SMMT conference this week, BMW’s UK boss, Ian Robertson told Reuters that there are worries about the companies processes would not have time to adjust if no deal is struck by March 29th 2019.

He said: “What we are asking for is negotiations to take place, decisions to be made, clarity to be achieved and then we can plan our business model accordingly.”

BMW’s Oxford plant currently produces five million components a day, but the German company has increased production at a hub for Mini and with a Dutch contract manufacturer VDL Nedcar, raising concerns that the big brand could pull out of the UK.

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