Currently reading: UK car success under threat from Brexit, says industry
Promising car production statistics hide a longer-term worry for the British car industry post-Brexit, says SMMT boss Mike Hawes

Strong British car manufacturing figures are all very well, say UK car manufacturers, but they don’t mean expected challenges posed by Brexit are over.

Read more about the promising production figures here

Speaking during an event at the Eiffel Tower, where eight new British cars were displayed on the eve of the Paris motor show to underscore the UK’s recent healthy car export performance, the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Mike Hawes, warned that the success had come entirely during pre-referendum trading, but that the industry could not depend on the same business environment in future.

“Recent headlines have suggested that Brexit is no problem,” Hawes told an audience of industry leaders that included Minister for International Trade, Mark Garnier. “Even our own figures - 900,000 cars exported so far this year - paint a picture of a strong and vibrant industry.

Read about the UK's registrations in August here

“But these results have come about because around £10 billion has been invested in our industry over the past five years. It was a huge help with model development and with R&D. And best of all, we were - and still are - in the single market.”

Hawes explained that the industry had become deeply concerned about future conditions since the referendum. There was a danger of investment “leaking away”, he said, because investors were less confident of the future. The SMMT saw “a window” between now and the start of Brexit negotiations early next year to get its message across and intended to take advantage.

Read about Ford's Bridgend investment cut here, and MG's withdrawal from UK production here

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The major initiative, said Hawes, was to encourage the government to do everything possible to preserve current trading conditions by staying in the single market. There was a clear distinction between having access to the single market, he said, and actually being in it. “All our advice points one way: you’re either in the single market or you’re not," he added.

The SMMT had looked carefully at deals negotiated by other countries on the fringes of the EU - Norway, Turkey and Switzerland - and found that none would offer the market conditions that had helped to bring the UK its automotive success in the past five years. “It’s imperative that the government remembers this when negotiating,” said Hawes. “It’s the key to everything.”

Will Vauxhall withdraw from UK production? Read more

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leojk 28 September 2016

Works both ways doesn't it?

I don't think the EU wants to start slapping tariffs on car imports...
Citytiger 28 September 2016

What a load of cobblers,

Norway and Switzerland dont have car industries, but ALL Transits that are on sale in Europe, not just the EU are built in Turkey, and the funny thing is, I dont see a shortage, and surely, if we are outside of the EU and Turkey is outside the EU, wouldn't we be able to form our own independent trade agreements to bring them in. More scaremongering from the project fear remain camp.
wyaak2 28 September 2016

Turkey

Turkey is not in the EU, but is part of the EU Customs Union..so no tariffs nor customs red tape importing Transits or Fiat Tipos into the EU.
Cracker5 28 September 2016

You can't compare Turkey & the UK

You can't compare Turkey and the UK as places to manufacture things. The living costs and cost of production in Turkey are a fraction of those in the UK which can compensate for the import duties, so unless you're okay with getting rid of the minimum wage and all the associated benefits such as consultation periods & compensation for redundancy etc. manufacturing in the UK of goods intended for the EU by foreign companies will fall if Brexit happens.
Campervan 28 September 2016

Cracker5 wrote:

Cracker5 wrote:

You can't compare Turkey and the UK as places to manufacture things. The living costs and cost of production in Turkey are a fraction of those in the UK which can compensate for the import duties, so unless you're okay with getting rid of the minimum wage and all the associated benefits such as consultation periods & compensation for redundancy etc. manufacturing in the UK of goods intended for the EU by foreign companies will fall if Brexit happens.

I am confident that with the UK importing more cars, of higher value, from the EU than we sell to the EU the EU will not take action that affects UK sakes to EU or surely the UK would just retaliate and impose the same taxes upon all those German and French cars we buy.

Cobnapint 28 September 2016

Dear post Brexit car Industry...

Get over 'it' and yourselves, ffs. Just be thankful the country has regained control from Brussels and look to a brighter, free'er future.
scrap 30 September 2016

Cobnapint wrote:

Cobnapint wrote:

Get over 'it' and yourselves, ffs. Just be thankful the country has regained control from Brussels and look to a brighter, free'er future.

Stick those fingers in your ears and keep ignoring facts eh? We haven't regained anything yet, and if we do we might pay a very heavy price for it. Oh, and EU regulations are still going to be in force for a very long time to come. What a great deal!