A Brexit transition agreement will be ‘critical’ to Ford’s British investments if a trade agreement can’t be signed in the next two years, according to the head of its European operation.
Speaking at the FT Future of the Car Summit in London Jim Farley, the CEO and chairman of Ford's Europe, said the firm's UK infrastructure could be affected if the movement of goods from Britain into the European Union is made more difficult following Brexit.
“We believe in a transition period. If an agreement is not done, there should be a transition period, that’s critical for our investments in the UK."
Farley added that Ford expects an agreement between Britain and the EU to be signed, but cautioned: "Eighteen months is not much time in which to do a deal.
Farley also talked about issues including the free movement of people, the Customs Union and the flow of trade across the UK/EU border in future. Farley raised concerns about the potential for what he termed 'friction loss' at the UK border. "It means more trucks, cash trapped and time lost," he said.
Ford is now "spending a lot of time" trying to work out solutions to the problems of how to organsie its logistics post-Brexit. “There is a lot to do, but we have to be very ambitious, we are optimistic,” he said.
Further mobility developments predicted
While speaking at the Future of the Car Summit, Farley also talked about the future of autonomous driving. He predicted major breakthroughs would come in a second-wave of developments, which he termed "mobility 2.0".