Currently reading: Brexit versus Remain: should we stay or leave?
The EU referendum debate will reach its climax this Thursday when the British public votes on whether to remain part of the EU

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.”

The UK has a unique position in the global industry as a maker of luxury cars, epitomised by Volkswagen-owned Bentley, which has enjoyed more than £1.5bn of investment since 2001 and last year made 4000 cars with around 10,000 employees. “We are in the middle of an £840m investment programme, a large proportion of which is in our factory in Crewe,” said a spokesman. “We will continue to make investment decisions on a case-by-case basis.”

Vauxhall makes cars in Ellesmere Port and vans in Luton. It said: “Vauxhall is part of a fully integrated European company, benefiting from the free movement of goods and people within the world’s largest trading bloc, the EU. For the UK not to be part of the EU would be undesirable for our business and the sector as a whole.”

The Italian-American Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is not an obvious contributor to the Brexit debate, except that last year it moved its corporate HQ to London. FCA is, however, unusual in that it is not publicly pro-Remain. “We are neutral on Brexit and don’t have a view,” said a spokesman. “It is up to the British people to decide.”

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Brexit: 77% of UK motor industry wants Britain to remain in EU


The bosses of several importers recently spoke clearly in favour of Remain at a panel discussion ahead of last month’s Autocar Awards, and all five industry bosses present unanimously backed Remain.

Ford is very clear,” said Ford of Britain chairman Andy Barratt. “We want a stable economic environment. To cut ties with our biggest trading partner is plain wrong.”

This message was echoed by Tony Whitehorn, president of Hyundai Motor UK. “Over the next two years, if we exit Europe, we will have more instability,” he said. “And no one wants instability.”

Mitsubishi Motors UK managing director Lance Bradley said: “Uncertainty kills businesses and an exit vote will bring enormous uncertainty for at least two years after, and maybe five years.”

Continuing the theme, Paul Williams, CEO of Ssangyong UK, said: “Businesses are all about certainty and Brexit means uncertainty.”

Volvo Cars UK’s customer services director, David Baddeley, held a similar view. “We are for staying,” he said. “Stability is the basis for business development and strong investment.”

The National Franchised Dealer Association (NFDA), which counts 4500 main dealer sites as members, ran a poll earlier this year and 42% came out for Remain, the balance split between undecided and Brexit. “The bulk of main dealers want to remain in the EU,” said NFDA boss Sue Robinson. “That’s particularly true of the bigger dealers with close links to manufacturers.”

Smaller independent dealers are understood to be split, with some hoping to shed red tape with a Brexit.


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bowsersheepdog 22 June 2016

The one real issue

All the arguments about the economy and whatever else are essentially spurious. Future economic performance may go up or down, regardless of being in the EU or not and past performance is no guide to future returns. What this referendum is really about is the British people deciding whether or not they wish for there to continue to be a Britain. Voting to remain in the EU is voting to be part of one big European country, with one president, one government, one law, one currency, one language. one army, one passport, one of everything. None of them of our choosing or for our benefit. If that is what you want, then by all means vote to stay in the EU, but if you wish to stay British, under British rule, with a government which we elect and can change every five years if we are dissatisfied with how they have done, then vote to leave.
5wheels 21 June 2016

Jobs for the boys??

Kinnock gets a pension of 96k a year his dear wife 67k a year but on top of that a salary of 1.8 mill PLUS allowances (you know for a nice apartment car and some food and wines 735k a year - oh and his Mrs is very close behind. What political colour was/is this immoral bloodsucker
5wheels 21 June 2016

oh and those that have not noticed

Cadbury moved factory to Poland 2011 with EU grant.
Ford Transit moved to Turkey 2013 with EU grant.
Jaguar Land Rover has recently agreed to build a new plant in Slovakia with EU grant, owned by Tata, the same company who have trashed our steel works and emptied the workers’ pension funds.
Peugeot closed its Ryton (was Rootes Group) plant and moved production to Slovakia with EU grant.
British Army's new Ajax fighting vehicles to be built in SPAIN using SWEDISH steel at the request of the EU to support jobs in Spain with EU grant, rather than Wales.
Dyson gone to Malaysia, with an EU loan.
Crown Closures, Bournemouth (Was METAL BOX), gone to Poland with EU grant, once employed 1,200.
M&S manufacturing gone to far east with EU loan.
Hornby models gone. In fact all toys and models now gone from UK along with the patents all with with EU grants.
Gillette gone to eastern Europe with EU grant.
Texas Instruments Greenock gone to Germany with EU grant.
Indesit at Bodelwyddan Wales gone with EU grant.
Sekisui Alveo said production at its Merthyr Tydfil Industrial Park foam plant will relocate production to Roermond in the Netherlands, with EU funding.
Hoover Merthyr factory moved out of UK to Czech Republic and the Far East by Italian company Candy with EU backing.
ICI integration into Holland’s AkzoNobel with EU bank loan and within days of the merger, several factories in the UK, were closed, eliminating 3,500 jobs
Boots sold to Italians Stefano Pessina who have based their HQ in Switzerland to avoid tax to the tune of £80 million a year, using an EU loan for the purchase.
JDS Uniphase ( please Google) run by two Dutch men, bought up companies in the UK with £20 million in EU 'regeneration' grants, created a pollution nightmare and just closed it all down leaving 1,200 out of work and an environmental clean-up paid for by the UK tax-payer. They also raided the pension fund and drained it dry.
UK airports are owned by a Spanish company.
Scottish Power is owned by a Spanish company.
Most London buses are run by Spanish and German companies.
The Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to be built by French company EDF, part owned by the French government, using cheap Chinese steel that has catastrophically failed in other nuclear installations. Now EDF say the costs will be double or more and it will be very late even if it does come online.
39% of British invention patents have been passed to foreign companies, many of them in the EU
The Mini cars that Cameron stood in front of as an example of British engineering, are built by BMW mostly in Holland and Austria. His campaign bus was made in Germany even though we have Plaxton, Optare, Bluebird, Dennis etc., in the UK. The bicycle for the Greens was made in the far east, not by Raleigh UK but then they are probably going to move to the Netherlands too as they have said recently.
Anyone who thinks the EU is good for British industry or any other business simply hasn't paid attention to what has been systematically asset-stripped from the UK.
Lets not forget the non-existent fishing industry the EU paid to destroy, nor the farmers being paid NOT to produce food they could sell for more than they get paid to do nothing,
Ps REMAIN CAMP You may have noticed I have not mentioned Immigration.