Ford's European boss Stephen Odell has warned the company would have to reassess its long-term plans in the UK if the country were to leave the European Union.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Odell said: "I don't want to threaten the British government. [But] I would strongly advise against leaving the EU for business purposes and for employment purposes in the UK."
Pointing out the potential consequences of such an action, Odell said: "You'd have to look at everything… clearly we wouldn't be alone in doing that. Would it mean tariffs? Would it mean duties? We'd take a look at what it meant."
Ford has subsequently released a statement explaining those comments, saying they were in response to a hypothetical question and were "not a statement of intent by Ford Motor Company".
The government is currently in talks over whether the UK should remain in the European Union. One of the chief concerns raised by Chancellor George Osborne has been the need for the EU to do more to protect the interests of non-eurozone states, while also increasing competitiveness with China and India.