Ford has issued a Brexit warning to British politicians that it will take “whatever action is needed” to protect its business.
The pointed comment came after the car giant blamed uncertainty over Brexit for a staggering £760m drop in its European earnings in 2017.
Ford pointed the finger at the lack of confidence in the UK since the Brexit referendum, and raised fears of long term damage due to the EU withdrawal.
The statement is a U-turn from Ford’s original suggestions that negotiations were “positive”.
Chief executive of UK firm McLaren Automotive Mike Flewitt also said he is increasingly concerned by the looming possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
As support for a new referendum grows, Ford have made it clear, according to The Independent, that £470m of the £760m loss was due to the drop in the value of the pound since the Brexit referendum.
As a result, the American giant said that it is prepared to take “whatever action is needed” to keep its European profile, which can likely be perceived as a warning to reduce operations within the UK.
In April, Ford’s executive vice president of global markets, Jim Farley, insisted the car giant was “sticking with Britain” through Brexit, insisting that the UK was a “fundamental part” of its operations.
At that moment, Farley said there were “positive” signs in Brexit negotiations, and that he was hopeful.
Since then, the EU has refused most plans presented by the UK, which has attempted to secure access to the single market without accepting all of its rules.
Mr Flewitt, previously vice president of manufacturing for Ford, shared deep concerns over the situation:
“What will happen on the first day of no deal?
“How will we be able to import components? Export cars? Well… we don’t actually know how to trade with each other under those terms.”
The former Ford executive dismissed those who accuse motor industry leaders of joining in “project fear” for expressing their Brexit concerns. He said: “These are genuine fears. The people I feel most sorry for are some of the car companies that came and invested in the UK through the 1980s and 1990s to make Britain their base for trading in Europe.
“If all of a sudden their trading terms change, that whole investment is almost called into question.”
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