More than three-quarters of the UK motoring industry believes the UK leaving the EU (known as 'Brexit') would be harmful to business, a new survey has found.
It revealed that 88% of large motor industry businesses were against leaving the EU, while 73% of smaller and medium sized enterprises wanted to stay. 77% of the industry as a whole agreed Europe was best for business.
The UK’s motor industry, represented by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) members, announced the findings after the results from an independent survey compiled by ComRes were released.
This contrasts with 9% of respondents who thought an exit from the EU would benefit business. 14% answered saying they were unsure of its effects, reflecting the level of uncertainty around the issue.
Leading voices in support of remaining in the EU include senior members of Toyota, BMW and Vauxhall. Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The message from UK Automotive is clear – being in Europe is vital for the future of this industry and to secure jobs, investment and growth."
He said 77% of cars built in the UK were exported last year, with 57% of those going to European customers. 1.3 million British-built cars were exported last year – the highest on record – and the industry accounted for a significant 11.8% of all UK exports, worth £15 billion to the economy. The industry employs 800,000 people. “Leaving would put many of these jobs at risk.”
Tony Walker, Toyota’s deputy managing director, suggested his company’s investment in the UK could be hindered if the country left Europe. “Toyota has two manufacturing plants in the UK. We export nearly 90% of our UK-made cars, the vast majority to EU countries.
“After a careful assessment, we believe [Brexit would add] some tariffs or tariff barriers, leading to a loss of efficiency in business as well as a loss of harmonisation in vehicle regulation.