Is Motoring Set For £100bn Crash?

Mon 14th Sep 2020

Some of Europe’s biggest motor manufacturers have warned that a no-deal Brexit combined with a COVID-19 downturn could be catastrophic for the industry.

With just 15 weeks before the Brexit transition period ends, there is still no agreement between the EU and the UK, and with the prospect a no-deal Brexit promising WTO tariffs, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association are warning that 3 million cars are at risk.

"The stakes are high for the EU auto industry – we absolutely must have an ambitious EU-UK trade agreement in place by January,” said Eric-Mark Huitema, ACEA Director General. “Otherwise our sector – already reeling from the COVID crisis – will be hit hard by a double whammy."

There are already concerns about the short-term future of the industry following the drop in production and sales of motors since global lockdown was enforced in March. On top of the COVID uncertainty there is the worry that a 10 per cent WTO tariff would make vehicles more expensive, reduce choice for consumers and impact demand.

Mike Hawes of the SMMT said: "These figures paint a bleak picture of the devastation that would follow a 'no deal' Brexit. The shock of tariffs and other trade barriers would compound the damage already dealt by a global pandemic and recession, putting businesses and livelihoods at risk. Our industries are deeply integrated so we urge all parties to recognise the needs of this vital provider of jobs and economic prosperity, and pull out every single stop to secure an ambitious free trade deal now, before it is too late."