Currently reading: Brexit: Bentley could shift production to Europe in ‘worst case scenario’
Car maker believes its British identity is key, but its CEO admits export tariffs could force it into continental Europe
Sam Sheehan
News
2 mins read
9 March 2017

Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer has emphasised the need for Britain to secure a tariff-free trade deal with Europe, stating that a ‘worst case scenario’ could force the company to move to continental Europe.

Speaking to Reuters at the Geneva motor show, he said the brand’s British identity and Crewe production plant were key to its success, but that “before we would not produce any Bentleys anymore, we would produce them somewhere else”.

Britain's Prime Minister, Theresa May, is set to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon this month, allowing the UK to leave the European Union (EU). Bentley is among several brands pressuring her government to negotiate a deal whereby cars can be exported to Europe without incurring fees.

Europe is fast becoming Bentley’s biggest market, and access to technology and staff from its German parent company Volkswagen has been pivotal to its success.

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Dürheimer said that Bentley employees would need to be able to travel freely around the continent without visas to remain competitive with Europe-based rivals. If the British Government is unable to confirm such a scenario, Bentley may be forced to take action.

"I have about nine to 12 months where I can wait and see what's going to happen and then I need to take serious decisions. It's all connected to future models," Dürheimer said.

Toyota also voiced its concerns over Brexit at the Geneva motor show, with executive vice president Didier Leroy telling Reuters that production of the next-generation Auris may be moved from Britain if tariffs are introduced.

“By 2018 probably we have to make some decision, but it doesn't mean to start the investment," he said, suggesting the Japanese manufacturer will decide whether to further invest in its Burnaston plant once Britain’s Brexit plans have been revealed.

Conversely, Opel/Vauxhall’s new owner, the PSA Group, has said that tariffs may leave its brands with a competitive advantage, because it could optimise its Vauxhall plants for British supply of PSA products and therefore avoid additional costs.

PSA boss Carlos Tavares said: “Car makers fear that leaving the European market will result in applied tariffs for exporting and importing vehicles to Great Britain.

"If Peugeot were to have a car plant in Britain, it would overcome such tariffs.”

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ajoker 16 March 2017

european supply chain

the main reason Bentley will relocate into Europe is its supply chain. The majority of the large ticket items BIW (body in white) running gear are produced in the EU. Cross boarder trade tariffs will drive up UK production cost if its a hard brexit. There is over capacity with in the European car plants and these plants could accommodate Bentley with ease. Bugatti is a French mark but designed, engineered, and manufactured in Germany. Bentley could end up being no different. Nissan will also follow as will BMW with mini, the only way jobs stay here after a hard brexit is if the work force is cheap or the government uses taxpayer money to keep OEM here.
Foxfour 11 March 2017

So when did Europe become

So when did Europe become Bentleys biggest market ? Of course the item didnt say that, it used the make you think that words ' fast becoming' With China and USA having 1/2 of production and UK -15%-, whats left for Europe ? Some figures say 1600 out of 10K total last year.
kboothby 9 March 2017

what a load of scaremongering.....

......shite! we live ina global economy with commodities priced in dollars, more often than not. The economy is more than just exchange rates and tariffs, the UK employment law is more biased towards the employer than tbe employee than most of continental Europe. The Germans have a cheek to suggest they will pull UK production of a high ticket item like Bentley if brexit doesn't go their way - BMW and Mercedes have been building all their high end 4x4s in the poor southern states of the USA for a long time. The answer, post-brexit is simple. We lose a factory in Crewe/Ellesmere Port/Luton/Sunderland we impose punitave import duties on ALL EU car imports to the tune of at least 50% whilst giving grants to the remaining UK manufacturing base. Let's see who blinks first! We import more than we export and havent run a surplus since we joined the EC in the 70's, it's about time we reversed this situation, turned our backs on Europe and concentrate on the other 6 billion consumers on this planet . We need to turn to the commonwealth and concentrate on emerging markets rather than the corruption ridden, basket case Europe has become. This is not a Party Political broadcast for UKIP btw! Just a personal opinion lol

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