Three quarters of automotive businesses could be affected by a no deal Brexit, according to a new survey by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Speaking at the organisation’s 102nd annual dinner in London last week, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said the survey results show the need for a Brexit withdrawal deal and transition to prevent a drastic decline for the industry.
According to Fleet News, the survey found that 74.1% of companies with UK operations believed a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would be harmful to their organisation, with fewer than 9% foreseeing positive impact.
More than half said their operations have already been affected as a result of uncertainty about future trading agreements.
Almost a third of businesses said they had postponed or cancelled UK investment decisions due to the uncertainty of Brexit, One in five indicated they had already lost business as a direct consequence.
More than half of the firms are now operating contingency plans, with at least 1 in 10 (12.4%) relocating UK operations. Jaguar Land Rover was one of the first organisations to move productions. The automotive giant announced earlier this year that they would be laying off 1,000 workers across their West Midlands’ plants, after the decision was made to move the production of the Jaguar Land Rover Discovery product to Slovakia.
“Frictionless trade as part of the EU single market and customs union has driven the success of the UK automotive industry so the fact we are leaving is already painful, and already causing damage. Leaving without a deal would be catastrophic – plants will close; jobs will be lost. Leaving is not what we wanted, but we recognise that the withdrawal agreement has been hard-fought and, crucially, delivers a transition period which steps us back from the cliff-edge.
“We need a deal now, and we need an ambitious deal for the future that guarantees frictionless trade with our most important market – nothing else will do, and we urge all parties to remember what’s at stake,” said Hawes.
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