European motor manufacturers have this week given warning at the Paris Motor Show of the damage a no-deal Brexit or bad deal like Chequers could cause to the British economy. The warnings show that logistics and trade agreements are all put at risk by the loss of freedom of movement and trade and uncertainty caused by Brexit.
Johan Van Zyl, chief executive of Toyota Europe, said: “If there would be any disruption we’d have to close our plant temporarily to make alternative arrangements. In the longer term, if we were to change the logistics it would add more cost and impact on our competitiveness, and of course the future of our operation.”
Harald Krüger, BMW chief executive, said: “We will no longer fulfil trade agreements and then we are forced to build the [Mini] car in the Netherlands. Hard Brexit is currently not our main scenario but we are preparing for it. We see a 50-50 chance.”
Maxime Picat, Executive Vice President of PSA Group, which owns Vauxhall, said: “Those limits are customs barriers, and the loss of freedom of movement, for people and goods. If we get to that point, we will be obliged to take measures. If we suddenly have to start manufacturing for the UK in the UK, and for Europe in Europe, there will necessarily be an impact on UK production.”
Ralf Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, said: “We haven’t made the decision because we don’t know at the end of the day the final conditions and we also see uncertainty resulting out of the Brexit discussions so we don’t know where we can do the investment best.”
Responding, Guto Bebb MP, a leading supporter of People’s Vote, said:
“The warnings from the motor industry could not be clearer - a bad deal will damage large parts of the economy, risk jobs and create huge business uncertainty. It’s not just a no deal that will harm Britain’s manufacturing industry. Even under a bad deal like Chequers, logistics chains will be damaged and trade agreements are put at risk, while ending freedom of movement of goods and people and increasing uncertainty makes the UK a less attractive place to do business.
“Whether it’s a no-deal or a bad deal, Brexit will harm the UK and put British jobs at risk because it does not give business and manufacturers the certainty and conditions they need to thrive in the UK. It is ordinary people who will pay the price for the disaster that leaving the EU is becoming – that is why so many people now demand a People’s Vote.”
Notes to Editors:
- Chief Executives quoted at the Paris Motor show: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/oct/02/toyota-hard-brexit-uk-plant-bmw-mini-jaguar-land-rover