The UK motor industry faces the threat of a £4.5 billion car tariff if the country does not stay in a single EU market, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ president Gareth Jones.
Analysis from the SMMT suggests that EU tariffs on cars could add an annual £2.7bn to imports and £1.8bn to exports. The UK motor industry body also said tariffs could push up the list price of cars imported to the UK from the Continent by an average of £1500 if brands and retailers were unable absorb the extra costs. That figure is based on a 10% standard tariff on cars exported to and imported from the EU.
Speaking at the SMMT’s centenary annual dinner, Jones said its members – car manufacturers and traders – had told the SMMT what it wanted: ”Membership of the single market, consistency in regulations, access to global talent and global markets and the ability to trade abroad free from barriers and red tape.”
Jones admitted it wouldn’t be an easy task but said the SMMT will continue to make this case to the UK government. “We have the strength of our successful sector behind us and will ensure your voice is heard,” he told the audience at the annual dinner.
He outlined the current success of UK production for the automotive industry, siting a new record for exports. However, he warned that this was the result of multi-billion-pound investment decisions made years before the EU referendum and could not be taken for granted.
He said: “We need to create the right conditions for future competitiveness, for developing skills and securing the strength of our economy by investing in R&D and enabling new technologies to be developed here in the UK.