Grand Brexit auto
The lack of progress over Brexit is already impacting the automotive sector, according to the president of the UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Tony Walker. “We have huge challenges,” he says. “Consumer confidence has fallen leading to a downturn in sales. Uncertainty about Brexit – and market confusion over diesel – are taking their toll.”
He adds that the sector’s global competitiveness took time to attain and can be easily lost. “A hard Brexit would undermine all that we have collectively achieved. It is a real threat, a hurdle we cannot ignore.”
The SMMT believes a no-deal Brexit would add at least £4.5 billion to the industry’s annual overheads, while the imposition of customs checks, red tape and fees on goods that currently move friction-free across borders would be a major imposition.
“Every day, more than 1,100 trucks for UK car plants cross into the UK from the continent – the vast majority without being checked at customs – to deliver some £35 million worth of components to UK vehicle and engine plants,” the organisation says. “And every day, these components help build 6,600 cars and 9,800 engines – the bulk of which are then shipped back to EU customers and assembly plants.”