The aftermath of Brexit will affect a number of industries, and the automotive market isn’t any different. In the wake of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, Aston Martin have already warned they could stop producing cars. Other manufacturers are having their say and Ford is the latest manufacturer to wade in on the debate. Recently, the company announced they could leave the UK if a trade deal wasn’t secured.
Despite Ford not building any vehicles in the UK, they manufacture a lot of engines. Petrol units are built in Bridgend and diesel engines are built in Dagenham. Ford also has a research centre in Dunton, Essex. The facilities are potentially under threat, with a hard Brexit costing Ford up to £1 billion a year in tariffs. This would force the company to reconsider its investment in the UK.
Steven Armstrong, Ford of Europe President, told Channel 4 News that Britain leaving the EU without a deal would be “disastrous.” He said that Britain would have to remain competitive if Ford were to remain.
Many car manufacturers fear the potential changes that a hard Brexit could bring. Changes to tariffs, custom checks and logistical challenges could undermine their market advantages. As another foreign car maker in the UK, Honda have issued a March deadline before it considers moving its facilities abroad.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders president Tom Walker has also had his say. “Competitiveness comes hard won, it can be easily lost. We need to see concrete progress and quickly. We have torn down so many barriers in the last 40 years…We have huge challenges. Consumer confidence has fallen, leading to a downturn in sales.” According to Walker, at least £.4.5 billion would be added to the motor industry’s annual costs, due to WTO tariffs.
The fallout of Brexit is still uncertain, but industry experts will continue to speculate until a decision is reached. It could be argued that Ford’s withdrawal from the UK wouldn’t be as disastrous as described, given the number of native British car brands. It all depends on consumer taste.
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