Currently reading: Ford: Free-trade agreement critical for UK car industry’s survival
Investment in electrification and autonomy relies on business being financially viable post-Brexit

A free-trade agreement in the face of Brexit is crucial to ensure the future of the UK automotive industry, according to Ford UK chairman Graham Hoare.

“A free-trade agreement is necessary for the viability of our businesses. We’re putting huge amounts of investment into an electric future. We’re embracing digital activities, which is another burden,” he said at today’s SMMT summit.

“We need to do everything we can to avoid that exposure and reinforce the message in every conversation we have for the survival of the auto industry. We need to steadfastly hold that view and support our government partners in delivering that aspiration.”

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes, who has consistently lobbied for a free-trade agreement with the European Union, said: “Brexit is still the biggest threat to the long-term future of the industry. There would still be industry here [without deal], but it will look very different. The challenges to this industry - Covid, Brexit, electrification, autonomy - these are all happening at once and the scale of change is unprecedented.

"It’s a very agile industry. That’s why we need to work with government and other stakeholders to try and make a bright future.”

Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark, also talking at the SMMT summit, said: “The bottom line is that any that slows down components and costs us more cash and time, and anything that puts more cost to the customer, is going to reduce either profitability or demand.

“We see a significant hit from a hard Brexit, but we have put measures in place and would have to take price adjustment accordingly. A deal for our industry would be decisive in enabling us to grow and develop at the rate we have over the past ten years.”

Bentley has doubled its warehousing capacity in preparation for Brexit, an implementation which has been able to be stress-tested over the last few months due to Covid-19. “We now have between five and 10 days’ provision [compared to two before]," said Hallmark. "It costs us millions per year - millions we didn’t want to spend. We’ve used that to stockpile components."

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Nadhim Zahawi, minister for business and industry, said while addressing the summit: “The UK is a significant importer of vehicles [to Europe]. Avoiding tariffs should be crucial for both sides. Alongside that, we’ve already agreed deals with Switzerland, South Korea and South Africa, and we’re continuing discussions with others such as Japan and Turkey. We’re committed to removing tariffs with partners and negotiating free-trade agreement with the EU.”

Zahawi also announced £78 million of grant funding for the UK automotive industry, intended to help businesses develop expertise in green automotive technologies. The funding will benefit companies including Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and McLaren.

The SMMT’s second annual trade report for 2020, published today, said that car and light commercial vehicle production volumes are expected to fall by a third to 920,000 units this year as a result of the pandemic. It claims that if a tariff-free deal is in place, full recovery is predicted to take up to five years, with output reaching pre-crisis levels of 1.35 million units by 2025.

However, it said a no-deal scenario could result in volumes falling below 850,000 by 2025 – the lowest level since 1953. This would mean a £40 billion cut in revenues, on top of the £33.5bn cost of pandemic-caused production losses over the period.

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Ski Kid 23 June 2020

Ford is FKD

Yep being as it is, they have do it themselves, second rate build and after sales and the Transit went courtesy  of THE EU, giving them loads of funding to built in Turkey.I hope we put loads of taxes on Ford and they will either leave the Uk market or have to build hear again.

TStag 24 June 2020

Ski Kid wrote:

Ski Kid wrote:

Yep being as it is, they have do it themselves, second rate build and after sales and the Transit went courtesy  of THE EU, giving them loads of funding to built in Turkey.I hope we put loads of taxes on Ford and they will either leave the Uk market or have to build hear again.

yes ramp those taxes up on imports. More expensive clothes, food and goods courtesy of your friendly Brexiteers!

 

The truth is free trade is dead with Brexit

Just Saying 23 June 2020

Scotty5

Dear Scotty5
It's not you personally I'm singling out is it?
Some folk write informed and interesting posts on this forum and others do not. I read your posts. Enough said.
sbagnall 23 June 2020

We've only ourselves to blame

We've only ourselves to blame
Pietro Cavolonero 23 June 2020

f*ckwit

nuff said