Industry chiefs urge government to secure long-term trade deal after survey reveals car business's fears
James Attwood, digital editor
27 November 2018

Nearly three-quarters of UK automotive businesses believe that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would harm their future viability – with the head of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders again warning that failure to leave the European Union without an agreement would lead to plants being shut and jobs lost.

Prime Minister Theresa May and European Union leaders have reached a withdrawal agreement on the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU on March 29, 2019, which includes a 21-month ‘transition period’.

They have also agreed a statement on the future relationship, which will be used to guide the creation of a legally binding treaty. Those agreements will be voted on by the UK parliament on 11 December and, if not approved, could still lead to Britain exiting the EU without a deal. While the SMMT has welcomed that draft agreement, the lack of a long-term agreement remains a concern.

Speaking at the SMMT’s annual dinner, chief executive Mike Hawes said that Brexit “remained the biggest challenge for all of us”, and was already harming investment in “technology, people and our future.”

Hawes added: “We need a deal. No deal would be catastrophic. Plants will close. Jobs will be lost.”

While Hawes said the Withdrawal Agreement’s transition period would “step us back from the cliff edge”, there had been no firm agreement on the future trade framework beyond that. 

“We need an ambitious future relationship,” he said. “One that replicates the benefits of the customs union and the single market. No tariffs, no quotas, no rules of origin. No regulatory divergence. No border checks, and frictionless trade.”

Adding that any deal must be “ambitious”, Hawes added that: “Leaving is not what we wanted. For us, Brexit is about damage limitation. There is no ‘Brexit dividend’.”

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Tony Walker, the outgoing president of the SMMT and head of Toyota Motor Europe’s London office, added that: “Crashing out of the EU would have immediate and devastating impacts, with border chaos disrupting the 'Just in Time' basis on which our business depends. Disruption could last for weeks – even months.”

Survey reveals Industry fears

The SMMT’s comments were backed up by the results of the SMMT’s Brexit survey, with 74.1% of automotive companies that had UK operations saying a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would damage their business, compared to 8.39% who felt it would have a positive or very positive effect. Similarly, 68.53% of firms felt failure to reach a deal would have a negative or very negative impact on their profitability. 

The survey also found that 55.55% of firms said the Brexit process had already had a negative or very negative impact on their business. Nearly half of all businesses also feared a no-deal Brexit could harm their ability to maintain their existing workforce.

Read more

UK automotive industry welcomes draft Brexit deal

Toyota: no-deal Brexit could halt UK production for months

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Jaguar Land Rover boss: hard Brexit will cost jobs

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Comments
24

27 November 2018

Here we go again, folks... look at for the usual suspects with low intelligence to tell us that Brexit is all about craziness... all the while forgeting that Brexit was and is actually about politics, not economics - and that's why Leave won (and would win again, incidentally)... because people voted politically.  So here we go then...

I say my bit, then go. So although I'm interested in what you may initially say, I don't care what you think about what I've written, so I won't read whatever your reply is.

27 November 2018
That bloke wrote:

...all the while forgeting that Brexit was and is actually about politics, not economics...

I voted to leave the EU for many different reasons including economic reasons. Overall the UK will be better off after it has left the EU properly.

27 November 2018
Conspicuously absent was a statement that no jobs will be lost if Britain remains.

27 November 2018
That bloke wrote:

Here we go again, folks... look at for the usual suspects with low intelligence to tell us that Brexit is all about craziness... all the while forgeting that Brexit was and is actually about politics, not economics - and that's why Leave won (and would win again, incidentally)... because people voted politically.  So here we go then...

He says his bit, then goes.  But he keeps coming back.. 

28 November 2018
That bloke wrote:

Here we go again, folks... look at for the usual suspects with low intelligence to tell us that Brexit is all about craziness... all the while forgeting that Brexit was and is actually about politics, not economics - and that's why Leave won (and would win again, incidentally)... because people voted politically.  So here we go then...

Cards on the table. I voted out. However I do not support May's crappy deal. Brexit out was a vote to f*ck the EU. Why would we therefore want to 'deal' with the scum that is the EU? No deal is the best outcome for the man in the streeet, agreed not the best for the 1%, but better for the average man. A no deal Brexit  = short term pain, long term gain for the man in the street. The country ignored Enoch to it's regret, don't repeat the same mistake twice!

27 November 2018

 If her own Parliament turn down what she has got from the Eu Brexit might not happen at all!

Peter Cavellini.

27 November 2018

This story keeps coming up time after time. For C*****'s sake just get it over & done with & then you Auto Journoes can go back to doing what your real job is................reporting on Cars!!!!!

27 November 2018
jagdavey wrote:

This story keeps coming up time after time. For C*****'s sake just get it over & done with & then you Auto Journoes can go back to doing what your real job is................reporting on Cars!!!!!

Yes.  There was once a time when Autocar published regular road tests, first drives and news of upcoming and updated models from all manufacturers covering all sorts of models.  Drives and opinions of the cars were balanced, we had appropriate verdicts based on the relative merits of each vehicle to its target market.  We didn't have (so many) pictures of lairy power slides from sport saloons, their journalists didn't do stories with such pretentious language, it was a bit more 'plain English', there wasn't a blatently obvious biased toward certain manufacturers like there is with JLR (yes Mr Cropley, it's that obvious), OK, there was a time in the mid 2000's when they had a bit of a thing for BMW's, but they probably did make the best cars of that period.  Changing with the times I guess.

28 November 2018

I can’t believe it, I actually agree with you!

27 November 2018

"......... plants being shut and jobs lost" - as if that has never happened while we've been in the eu? the future is always uncertain in manufacturing! i'm convinced that every post-brexit scare story i've heard since the referendum - which is all they are - has involved something which has actually happened while we were in it.

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