Currently reading: Inside the industry: How long will Brexit blight the car world?
The costs of leaving the EU might one day be recouped, but right now the prognosis is bleak
Jim Holder
News
2 mins read
26 October 2020

No matter which side of the divide you stand on, there can be few doubts that the Brexit vote – from 52:48 decision to today – has been a blight on the health of the UK automotive industry, subsequent currency swings robbing many operators of profits and buyers of lower-cost car deals, as well as hitting consumer confidence.

It has also coincided with a collapse in investment in UK automotive, although Brexit is just one of many pressures at play. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which exists to promote the interests of the industry but can be relied on to tread a numerically factual path, estimates that an average of £4 billion a year was being invested in the sector from 2012 to 2015, but only £1.1bn from 2016 to 2019.

The announcement of the closure of Honda’s Swindon plant and a U-turn by Nissan on investment in Sunderland also stand out as further lows – albeit with both firms doing all they could to avoid the B-word. However, common sense surely suggests that car makers looking to make long-term investments will prefer to do so in countries that guarantee stability and certainty.

Then there are the costs of planning for regulatory changes from 1 January, the crucial details of which are still to be ironed out. To date, the bill stands at more than £500m, the SMMT says.

Nor is there positive news on the horizon. The frustrating reality for much of the industry is that even the best possible deal will only replicate what it had within the EU, albeit with hoped-for wiggle room to strike its own deals in future, while the worst-case no-deal scenario throws up the likelihood of two-way tariffs and red tape. The SMMT estimates no deal would cost the industry about £90bn through to 2025.

Why, then, do some still talk up the industry’s post-Brexit prospects?

Typically, they divide two ways. There are free marketeers, who argue that working to the UK’s own agenda will be to its benefit in the long term, as its relative prosperity will mean that other nations will want to work with it to be able to sell their good and services in, as well as export ours out.

Then there are those who hope for biases to play out in the UK industry’s favour following the break. This is particularly true for firms developing early-stage R&D projects, which currently struggle to get adequate funding from the UK government as EU rules preclude such favouritism.

The question is when – or if – the costs of leaving will ever be recouped, the scale of that challenge unknown until negotiations are concluded. Even then, the waters may prove to be too muddied for anyone to ever know the answer.

READ MORE

The Swindon factory closure: how Honda got Europe so wrong 

Nissan Sunderland plant “unsustainable” without a Brexit deal 

Nissan and Toyota to seek compensation from UK in no-deal Brexit

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Strider 26 October 2020

R&D funding

Jim, I don't agree with your point about R&D funding. My work with the APC and Innovate UK, and with Patent Box and R&D Tax Credits (particularly underexploited) suggests that while more money is always welcome, there are good opportunities for funding and collaboration both at the R and the D level. They always have to work hard to find, neatly presented, good quality programmes to fund. Where there should be money but isn't (and is in some other European countries) is in the pre-production stage, which is typically capital intensive but could be a year or more from generating revenue. My advice to anyone finding the current R&D support challenging is to understand better how they work and what they are looking for and then align the pitch with that.

Symanski 26 October 2020

Boris's Brexit hurts Britain.

There's no doubt that Brexit has already hurt Britain, and the rest is being telegraphed right now. Only someone so deluded would continue to deny what damage it has done on the UK.

 

The questions really should be on how can we get back in to the EU before the end of the year and keep all the deals we had with them? Even if we've got to pay a few tens of billions to do so, it would be to Britain's benefit.

 

Then what do we do with the liars and cheats who duped the nation with Brexit?

 

martin_66 26 October 2020

Are you.......

Symanski wrote:

There's no doubt that Brexit has already hurt Britain, and the rest is being telegraphed right now. Only someone so deluded would continue to deny what damage it has done on the UK.

The questions really should be on how can we get back in to the EU before the end of the year and keep all the deals we had with them? Even if we've got to pay a few tens of billions to do so, it would be to Britain's benefit.

Then what do we do with the liars and cheats who duped the nation with Brexit?

Are you really Alastair Campbell in disguise?  Just like you, he keeps going on and on and on about Brexit. And just like you he conveniently forgets about Project Fear, with all the horror stories about all the terrible things that would happen if we voted to leave.  And guess what - they haven't.  And the majority of us weren't stupid enougn to fall for it and voted accordingly.  Good luck trying to find enough people who would like to change their vote.

You lost.  Get over it and move on.

 

Symanski 27 October 2020

What did you win?

martin_66 wrote:

You lost.  Get over it and move on.

 

Remind us what did you win?

 

The right to collapse the pound on the currency markets?

 

The right to have businesses chased out of the country to relocate to the EU?

 

The right to put Brits out of jobs?

 

To be poorer with fewer rights and less freedom?

 

Doesn't seem like much of a victory.

 

martin_66 27 October 2020

Symanski wrote:

Symanski wrote:

martin_66 wrote:

You lost.  Get over it and move on.

 

Remind us what did you win?

 

The right to collapse the pound on the currency markets?

 

The right to have businesses chased out of the country to relocate to the EU?

 

The right to put Brits out of jobs?

 

To be poorer with fewer rights and less freedom?

 

Doesn't seem like much of a victory.

 

We won our freedom from the EU.  Our right to make our own laws and rules and not those that suited European countries.  Those of us that have been alive long enough have seen the havoc caused to this country by being a member of that club.  A club that absolutely nobody in this country was ever asked if they wanted to join in the first place.

Exactly how has the pound collapsed?

No business has been chased out of this country.  Some threatened to leave to put pressure on the British government and the British people, some have left befcause that was their plan all along.

Which Brits have lost their jobs?  The ones who were going to lose their jobs anyway?  (See second point, above).

I don't know about you, but I am no poorer and do not have fewer rights and freedoms.  If I have a bit more difficulty going to Spain for my holiday, well that will be a price worth paying.  Perhaps it might encourage people to actually spend their holidays, and indeed their money, in this country instead.

We got the victory we wanted.  Stop being such a whingeing remoaner and have a bit of faith in your country.  

typos1 27 October 2020

martin_66 wrote:

martin_66 wrote:

We won our freedom from the EU.  Our right to make our own laws and rules and not those that suited European countries.  Those of us that have been alive long enough have seen the havoc caused to this country by being a member of that club.  A club that absolutely nobody in this country was ever asked if they wanted to join in the first place.

Exactly how has the pound collapsed?

No business has been chased out of this country.  Some threatened to leave to put pressure on the British government and the British people, some have left befcause that was their plan all along.

Which Brits have lost their jobs?  The ones who were going to lose their jobs anyway?  (See second point, above).

I don't know about you, but I am no poorer and do not have fewer rights and freedoms.  If I have a bit more difficulty going to Spain for my holiday, well that will be a price worth paying.  Perhaps it might encourage people to actually spend their holidays, and indeed their money, in this country instead.

We got the victory we wanted.  Stop being such a whingeing remoaner and have a bit of faith in your country.  

We were "free" when we were a member, we could make our own laws when we were a member, the laws "that suited EU countries" were made by us and them TOGETHER, we all agreed to them, they were not forced upon us. We were better off in the EU than we ever had been, in any time inhistory. Many businesses have left because of Brexit and many more will. We joined after voting for it in a referendum (one where the winning didnt side lie, unlike the last), so we were asked. We havent even properly left yet so youre in no position to judge wether you are pooer or not. "We" did NOT "get the victory WE wanted" - the nation was split and still is, half of it got teh victory it wanted, the other half did not, the half that did, did so with lies. And youre still spreading lies and nonsense over 4 years later, youre clearly a deluded xenophobe with no idea of the truth or reality.

martin_66 28 October 2020

Oh dear.....

typos1 wrote:

martin_66 wrote:

We won our freedom from the EU.  Our right to make our own laws and rules and not those that suited European countries.  Those of us that have been alive long enough have seen the havoc caused to this country by being a member of that club.  A club that absolutely nobody in this country was ever asked if they wanted to join in the first place.

Exactly how has the pound collapsed?

No business has been chased out of this country.  Some threatened to leave to put pressure on the British government and the British people, some have left befcause that was their plan all along.

Which Brits have lost their jobs?  The ones who were going to lose their jobs anyway?  (See second point, above).

I don't know about you, but I am no poorer and do not have fewer rights and freedoms.  If I have a bit more difficulty going to Spain for my holiday, well that will be a price worth paying.  Perhaps it might encourage people to actually spend their holidays, and indeed their money, in this country instead.

We got the victory we wanted.  Stop being such a whingeing remoaner and have a bit of faith in your country.  

We were "free" when we were a member, we could make our own laws when we were a member, the laws "that suited EU countries" were made by us and them TOGETHER, we all agreed to them, they were not forced upon us. We were better off in the EU than we ever had been, in any time inhistory. Many businesses have left because of Brexit and many more will. We joined after voting for it in a referendum (one where the winning didnt side lie, unlike the last), so we were asked. We havent even properly left yet so youre in no position to judge wether you are pooer or not. "We" did NOT "get the victory WE wanted" - the nation was split and still is, half of it got teh victory it wanted, the other half did not, the half that did, did so with lies. And youre still spreading lies and nonsense over 4 years later, youre clearly a deluded xenophobe with no idea of the truth or reality.

....yet another whingeing remoaner.  You pathetic people will just whine on and on and on.  You have no evidence that I am a xenophobe.  I am simply a person, like the majority of people in this country who voted in the referendum and, indeed, at the last election (which was effectively referendum 2.0), who wanted us to take back control of our boders and our laws, without being dictated to by Brussels.

You are the deluded one if you don't believe the remain side told any massive whoppers during the referendum campaign.  Just look up "lies of Project fear" if you don't believe me.

In time, and no, it won't just happen over night, you will see this country become stronger in its independence from a political superstate we were never asked if we wanted to join.  We were just signed into it by various spineless politicians.  I look forward to your apology when you and all the other remoaners realise you were wrong.

typos1 27 October 2020

martin_66 wrote:

martin_66 wrote:

Symanski wrote:

There's no doubt that Brexit has already hurt Britain, and the rest is being telegraphed right now. Only someone so deluded would continue to deny what damage it has done on the UK.

The questions really should be on how can we get back in to the EU before the end of the year and keep all the deals we had with them? Even if we've got to pay a few tens of billions to do so, it would be to Britain's benefit.

Then what do we do with the liars and cheats who duped the nation with Brexit?

Are you really Alastair Campbell in disguise?  Just like you, he keeps going on and on and on about Brexit. And just like you he conveniently forgets about Project Fear, with all the horror stories about all the terrible things that would happen if we voted to leave.  And guess what - they haven't.  And the majority of us weren't stupid enougn to fall for it and voted accordingly.  Good luck trying to find enough people who would like to change their vote.

You lost.  Get over it and move on.

 

Project Fear ? You mean where the leave side lied about Turkey joining the EU and that we d be swamped by millions of immigrants, you mean the innaccurate ads that suggested there would be queues of non white people coming here, despite most people in the EU being white, you mean the constant lies about non existant EU rules that we are and/or would be bound by, you mean the leave campaign suggesting we were somehow "ruled by Europe", you mean the general fear and pannick spread by the leave campaign about immigrants generally, you mean the fear that the EU would somehow take over the country and become a United States of Europe, is this the project fear youre talking about ? The one that used fear to disengenuously persuade 52% of the public that leaving the EU would somehow be a good idea and not total madness and the worst decision our country could ever make ? Cos that the only proect fear that there was in reality and sadly it won, despite the lies. And this country is going to suffer as a result.

martin_66 28 October 2020

Seriously?

typos1 wrote:

martin_66 wrote:

Symanski wrote:

There's no doubt that Brexit has already hurt Britain, and the rest is being telegraphed right now. Only someone so deluded would continue to deny what damage it has done on the UK.

The questions really should be on how can we get back in to the EU before the end of the year and keep all the deals we had with them? Even if we've got to pay a few tens of billions to do so, it would be to Britain's benefit.

Then what do we do with the liars and cheats who duped the nation with Brexit?

Are you really Alastair Campbell in disguise?  Just like you, he keeps going on and on and on about Brexit. And just like you he conveniently forgets about Project Fear, with all the horror stories about all the terrible things that would happen if we voted to leave.  And guess what - they haven't.  And the majority of us weren't stupid enougn to fall for it and voted accordingly.  Good luck trying to find enough people who would like to change their vote.

You lost.  Get over it and move on.

 

Project Fear ? You mean where the leave side lied about Turkey joining the EU and that we d be swamped by millions of immigrants, you mean the innaccurate ads that suggested there would be queues of non white people coming here, despite most people in the EU being white, you mean the constant lies about non existant EU rules that we are and/or would be bound by, you mean the leave campaign suggesting we were somehow "ruled by Europe", you mean the general fear and pannick spread by the leave campaign about immigrants generally, you mean the fear that the EU would somehow take over the country and become a United States of Europe, is this the project fear youre talking about ? The one that used fear to disengenuously persuade 52% of the public that leaving the EU would somehow be a good idea and not total madness and the worst decision our country could ever make ? Cos that the only proect fear that there was in reality and sadly it won, despite the lies. And this country is going to suffer as a result.

you have finally proved that you are not a person who should be taken seriously.  To suggest that leaving the EU was "total madness" (your words, not mine) proves that you have absolutely no faith in this country.  Quite frankly you should be ashamed of yourself.

martin_66 26 October 2020

Are you.......

Symanski wrote:

There's no doubt that Brexit has already hurt Britain, and the rest is being telegraphed right now. Only someone so deluded would continue to deny what damage it has done on the UK.

The questions really should be on how can we get back in to the EU before the end of the year and keep all the deals we had with them? Even if we've got to pay a few tens of billions to do so, it would be to Britain's benefit.

Then what do we do with the liars and cheats who duped the nation with Brexit?

Are you really Alastair Campbell in disguise?  Just like you, he keeps going on and on and on about Brexit. And just like you he conveniently forgets about Project Fear, with all the horror stories about all the terrible things that would happen if we voted to leave.  And guess what - they haven't.  And the majority of us weren't stupid enougn to fall for it and voted accordingly.  Good luck trying to find enough people who would like to change their vote.

You lost.  Get over it and move on.

Bimfan 26 October 2020

We have been here before.

For those old enough to remember the 80's, we have been here before. What was left of the British motor industry worth saving was sold off to foreign owners, Jaguar/Land rover to Ford, BL to BMW etc and Japanese companies were paid millions in grants and incentives to start up satellite factories here. That has continued over the last 30 years but more slowly. Vauxhall to PSA, Bentley to VW etc.

Since then much of our 'British' car industry has been simply assembling parts imported from abroad into vehicles for sale that are largely exported. Our home market simply isn't large enough to support the amount or scale of our car manufacturing plants.

Inevitably, if costs rise due to tariffs or taxes, some of these will close or be moved abroad in the next few years, but in the long term it was always bound to happen, the seeds were sown 40 years ago. Brexit is just speeding the process along.

Our opportunity, which we have probably already ceded to the Chinese, was in advanced technology, lightweight, and electrical car manufacture. We need an Elon Musk, or people to take notice of the likes of Gordon Murray who has always advocated this.

Chris C 26 October 2020

Bimfan wrote:

Bimfan wrote:

For those old enough to remember the 80's, we have been here before. What was left of the British motor industry worth saving was sold off to foreign owners, Jaguar/Land rover to Ford, BL to BMW etc and Japanese companies were paid millions in grants and incentives to start up satellite factories here. That has continued over the last 30 years but more slowly. Vauxhall to PSA, Bentley to VW etc.

Since then much of our 'British' car industry has been simply assembling parts imported from abroad into vehicles for sale that are largely exported. Our home market simply isn't large enough to support the amount or scale of our car manufacturing plants.

Inevitably, if costs rise due to tariffs or taxes, some of these will close or be moved abroad in the next few years, but in the long term it was always bound to happen, the seeds were sown 40 years ago. Brexit is just speeding the process along.

Our opportunity, which we have probably already ceded to the Chinese, was in advanced technology, lightweight, and electrical car manufacture. We need an Elon Musk, or people to take notice of the likes of Gordon Murray who has always advocated this.

Well there was James Dyson, and that didn't end well, while the jury might still be out on the long term UK benefits of Jim Ratcliffe's Ineos project....

Welcome back to the late 1960's/early 1970's when the UK was outside the Common Market and British Leyland was having to set up JV's in Italy and Spain and build a plant in Belgium so it could sell in the EU and export jobs in the process.....

typos1 26 October 2020

Bimfan wrote:

Bimfan wrote:

FThat has continued over the last 30 years but more slowly. Vauxhall to PSA

Vauxhall has nt been British since 1925 when GM bought it.

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