The automotive industry is broadly in favour of the UK remaining in the European Union, according to a survey by Autocar of the main players in this country.
As the UK gets ready to vote on 23 June on whether to stay in or leave the EU, the general sense is that the car industry backs the Remain campaign. This is particularly the case for car manufacturers with owners based on the Continent or overseas and plugged into a European supply base and sales channels.
But many automotive trade associations and businesses that rely mainly on trade inside the UK are staying neutral, outwardly at least.
Last year 57% of the 1.5 million cars built in the UK were exported to the EU. With the bulk of the companies building cars or engines in the UK owned by EU companies, it makes sense that the manufacturing industry is overwhelmingly in favour of Remain.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is leading the automotive lobbying effort for Remain.
“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,” said SMMT CEO Mike Hawes. “UK Automotive is thriving, with record car exports and new registrations and the highest manufacturing levels for a decade. Our members have stated that pulling out of Europe could jeopardise this.”
Nissan employs 8000 people in the UK and is our biggest car maker, with more than 475,000 cars built last year and 80% exported to the EU. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “We believe it makes the most sense for jobs, trade and costs for the UK to stay in Europe. A position of stability is more positive than a collection of unknowns.”