Hard Brexit Could ‘Set UK Motor Industry Back 25 Years’

Wed 17th Oct 2018

Europe’s major car parts suppliers’ association has warned that the impact of a no-deal exit from Europe could be catastrophic for the industry.

Robert Vavassori, president of CLEPA and a management board member at brakes manufacturer Brembo has hinted that the British motor industry could return to the dark ages of decline if a hard Brexit becomes a reality. He said: “If we are continuing to be taken hostage by this situation, the flourishing UK auto industry could come back to the situation it was at 20-25 years ago.”

The British motor industry struggled to emerge in a competitive market in the early 1990s after two decades of serious decline, it was only outside investment from global partners that allowed the likes of Rover to return to serious competition.

Meanwhile the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), which represents the biggest 15 European automobile manufacturers has said that current customs and trade arrangements are not adequate for the prospect of a no-deal exit. More than 1,100 EU trucks cross the English Channel every day to deliver car and engine parts to the UK, and the shortest delay at customers will cause huge logistical problems for an industry which is set-up to work with free trade and free movement.

“Our members are already making contingency plans and are looking for warehouse spaces to stockpile parts,” stated Erik Jonnaert, Secretary General of ACEA.

However, the space required to stockpile for more than a short time would be absolutely huge – and expensive.”

“Some of our members are also planning a temporary post-Brexit production shutdown. But the harsh fact is that no amount of contingency planning can realistically cover all the gaps left by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on WTO terms.”