Two of the UK’s largest car manufacturers say they will carry on building cars here despite the clear statement by Theresa May that Britain will leave the European Union (EU) single market.
The Prime Minister outlined her plan on Tuesday and since then Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan, has said the Japanese firm will continue to build its Nissan Qashqai and Nissan X-Trail SUVs at its Sunderland plant.
Toyota has also stated it intends to carry on producing cars and engines at its factories in Burnaston, Derbyshire and Deeside in North Wales.
Talking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada told Bloomberg Television: ‘We can survive this. We don’t tend to close or move factories when things like this happen and it will be the same in the UK."
Nissan and Toyota, along with Honda, were attracted to the UK because of its EU membership and access to the single market that guarantees exports to other member states without tariffs.
Theresa May’s Brexit statement made it clear that Britain will no longer be part of this bloc when it leaves the EU.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has previously warned that quitting the single market could harm the UK car industry by as much as £4.5 billion per year in revenue.
Several car companies that Autocar has spoken to say they support the SMMT's position and are now monitoring the situation. A spokesman from one car brand added: "There’s still not enough clarity at the moment, but the weak value of the pound is having an impact on the cost of imported models."
Car companies based in the UK, such as Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover, are in a different position as the weaker value of the pound has boosted their overseas sales due to more competitive pricing. Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said: "We support the assurances proposed by the Prime Minister to ensure British companies have fair access to all global markets."