Britain leaving the European Union single market could “threaten the viability of the [automotive] industry”, according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) chief executive Mike Hawes.
In a speech earlier today, Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain’s exit from the EU would require it to leave the free-trade zone and that the government would be pushing for the "freest possible trade".
In a following statement, however, Hawes suggested a tariff-free deal was essential in ensuring that Britain’s car industry would remain competitive.
“We need government to deliver a deal which includes participation in the customs union to help safeguard EU trade, trade that is tariff-free and avoids the non-tariff and regulatory barriers that would jeopardise investment, growth and consumer choice,” he said. “Achieving this will not be easy and we must, at all costs, avoid a cliff-edge and reversion to WTO tariffs.”
The SMMT has previously stressed the importance of a free-trade deal and warned of tariffs that could cost the UK car industry £4.5 billion a year.
Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer welcomed May's propositions, saying: "We strongly believe in the principles of free trade on a global basis, which includes access to and from markets in the European Union. As a company that exports to over 50 markets across the world, Aston Martin supports the principles being taken by the Prime Minister to ensure that British companies have fair access to all global markets. As a company employing a wide diversity of nationalities, we further support the assurances being proposed by the Prime Minister to protect EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in Europe.”"