Blue Oval's European boss says imposition of tariffs between UK and EU would be "pretty disastrous" for British industry
James Attwood, digital editor
16 October 2018

Ford’s European boss has warned that a no-deal Brexit would prompt the firm to review its future in the UK.

Steven Armstrong told the BBC that failure to reach a deal for Britain’s departure from the EU, which could lead to the imposition of World Trade Organization rules and tariffs, would be “pretty disastrous” for British industry.

Brexit: what it means for the UK car industry

Ford currently makes engines at its plants in Dagenham and Bridgend, and transmissions at Halewood. Those units are shipped to other plants to be installed in chassis.

Trading under a WTO arrangement, which would involve tariffs on parts shipped between Britain and the EU, would “put a significant amount of cost in our business", said Armstrong. He added: “It would certainly make us think long and hard about our future investment strategy [in the UK].”

Armstrong also cautioned against a proposed Brexit arrangement based on the EU’s deal with Canada, which would allow for tariff-free trade but still involve border checks. Armstrong said that “would upset the just-in-time delivery model used by the company in Europe”.

Ford is currently understood to be considering a major restructuring of its business due to falling profits, with analysts at Morgan Stanley suggesting the firm could cut 24,000 jobs in Europe. That report was dismissed by Ford as "pure speculation".

Armstrong is the latest in a number of senior car industry executives to speak out against a possible no-deal Brexit. Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralf Speth has previously said fears over Brexit had already cost jobs, while Toyota has warned of disruption at its Burnaston plant. 

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Comments
40

16 October 2018

that will make sense if they rely on Just in Time and convenient if they are restructuring. Probably safer for them if they hit delays when delivering complete cars to buyers i.e. they've got paid and the buyer has to wait

16 October 2018
Rtfazeberdee wrote:

that will make sense if they rely on Just in Time and convenient if they are restructuring. Probably safer for them if they hit delays when delivering complete cars to buyers i.e. they've got paid and the buyer has to wait

what have they actually got left it the UK? Their Diesel engine plant are fast coming to its end and their petrol plant is not far behind. They have Dunton which they won’t wanna give up as its a technical centre and would be snapped up by JLR in a heartbeat. 

They will loose big time from customers shunning their highly tax cars and deservedly so. Remember the uk is pretty much their bread and butter in the EU as the other countries rather buy german.

16 October 2018

They would have to rethink on that and build in the UK again and support British Industry with the revenue

16 October 2018
Ski Kid wrote:

They would have to rethink on that and build in the UK again and support British Industry with the revenue

The numbers dont add up, that sort of talk is a deluded pipe dream.

XXXX just went POP.

16 October 2018
typos1 wrote:

Ski Kid wrote:

They would have to rethink on that and build in the UK again and support British Industry with the revenue

The numbers dont add up, that sort of talk is a deluded pipe dream.

 why don’t it add up? They could easily convert a old factory into a multi model production facility. Their is no reason why they could not build rhd Fiesta, Focus and Kugas in the uk. That’s the same reason why PSA are glad to have bought the northern vauxhall plant in the GM deal and why BMW are making plans to shift some mini production to Holland and replace it with the mini based 1 series line.

16 October 2018

The truth might also be that neither Jaguar Land Rover or Volvo buy Ford engines anymore, so with a substantial percentage of their business gone, they are probably going to end UK engine production anyway. I doubt that any Brexit deal will change that.

16 October 2018
Bar room lawyer wrote:

The truth might also be that neither Jaguar Land Rover or Volvo buy Ford engines anymore, so with a substantial percentage of their business gone, they are probably going to end UK engine production anyway. I doubt that any Brexit deal will change that.

Probably true and not to mention the current decline in diesel sales (Dagenham) and forthcoming decline in petrol engines/gearboxes (Bridgend/Halewood) with the increase in electrification.

 

But hey ho...let's blame Brexit!

16 October 2018

It amazes me how Brexit supporters seem to know more about running a successful business than the leaders of those businesses.

 

Just remember that we got the likes of the Nissan plant because we were in the EU and they needed somewhere to manufacture.

 

There is no better deal than the one we currently enjoy.   The EU gives us free-trade and more importantly frictionless-trade.   Nothing else compares.

 

16 October 2018
Symanski wrote:

It amazes me how Brexit supporters seem to know more about running a successful business than the leaders of those businesses.

 

Just remember that we got the likes of the Nissan plant because we were in the EU and they needed somewhere to manufacture.

 

There is no better deal than the one we currently enjoy.   The EU gives us free-trade and more importantly frictionless-trade.   Nothing else compares.

 

Its no use trying to win the argument with common sense and logic, they just dont understand, theyd cut off their right arms and kill their grandmothers to achieve their deluded goals.

XXXX just went POP.

16 October 2018
Symanski wrote:

Just remember that we got the likes of the Nissan plant because we were in the EU and they needed somewhere to manufacture.

There is no better deal than the one we currently enjoy.   The EU gives us free-trade and more importantly frictionless-trade.   Nothing else compares.

True, but it's equally likely that Brexit is going to be a convenient excuse for large manufacturers to shift production to cheaper eastern European (or non-European) factories. Ford closed its last vehicle factory five years ago, moving Transit production from Southampton to Turkey – not an EU country – to save money.

Brexit simply gives the car manufacturers an excuse to blame someone else while they continue to shift production of cars from expensive countries to cheaper ones, as they've been doing for years. Why do you think JLR has really moved Discovery production to Bratislava, joining VW/Audi/Porsche/Bentley in building big, expensive SUVs there? It's not because of Brexit.

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