BREXIT AND THE MOTORING INDUSTRY
14 March 2019
5 March 2019
This week many car makers across the globe are gathered in Switzerland for the Geneva Motor Show.
With just 24 days left until the UK is scheduled to leave the EU, companies such as BMW, Toyota, Bentley and PSA (the owners of Peugeot, Renault and Vauxhall) spoke about their concerns regarding their plants based in the UK.
BMW have stated that they may be forced to stop making the MINI in Cowley (near Oxford), a move which puts more than 4,500 jobs at risk and could end over 100 years of carmaking on the Cowley site. Over 60% of the parts that are used to produce MINI in the UK are sourced from the EU.
BMW are also contemplating moving the production of BMW engines (currently produced in Warwickshire) to a plant in Austria.
Bentley (owned by VW) CEO, Adrian Hallmark, has said that trade tarrifs imposed after we leave the EU (in the case of no deal) could lead to job losses as they attempt to cut costs, or prevent the company from increasing their workforce in the country.
Nissan directors have refused to deny an earlier report that they will scale back production in Sunderland. This is not a confirmation that the report is correct, however a lack of denial also does not indicate that there is any inaccuracy.
28 February 2019
Aston Martin have announced that they are creating a £30m fund to help the company navigate any Brexit-related disruption after a very good 12-months. In 2018 they enjoyed sales growth in all regions and in October they were listed on the London Stock Exchange for the first time.
18 February 2019
This weekend, Porsche released a warning to UK customers that they may have to pay an extra 10% on any new car they have delivered after 29 March.
The car manufacturer has said that they would like buyers to sign a clause agreeing to this potential 10% tariff. Porsche have said that the agreement is a precautionary one.
Volkswagen – who own Porsche – are currently not making any comment.
13 February 2019
Ford has announced that they believe a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be a catastrophe for the company’s manufacturing operations in the UK (Bridgend, Dagenham and Halewood).
The car manufacturer has previously stated that it will do whatever is necessary in order to keep European operations competitive. A recent report published by The Times declared that the car company could be looking to move their production out of the UK completely, though this is something that Ford have not confirmed.
Over 13,000 people are currently employed in the UK by the US company.
11 February 2019
Motorists are being informed that if we do leave Europe without a deal on March 29 (at 11pm) then they will be required to obtain an International Driving Permit (an IDP) to drive in Europe. If you are someone who has already driven in countries like the US or Asia on your UK driving licence then you will have already applied for one at some point.
International Driving Permits can be obtained from the local Post Office and currently cost £5.50.
6 February 2019
In research released on 5 February, it was revealed that almost every region in the UK where cars are manufactured, including Sunderland, Birmingham, Swindon, Coventry and Norfolk, voted in the majority (over 50%) for Leave in the 2016 Brexit Referendum.
4 February 2019
However, on 3rd February, Nissan confirmed that the X-Trail model will be made in Japan. They have said that a lack of Brexit plans have led to uncertainty where investment in the UK is concerned.
UK Government representatives are to meet with Nissan management today to discuss this latest development.
31 January 2019
The UK Automative industry is on a red alert as the threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit sees a dramatic drop in investment and manufacturing in the industry.
The UK saw car production experiencing a drop of -9.1%, the highest drop they’ve seen in five years.
Investment during 2018 halved due to fears businesses felt over the outcome of Brexit negotiations.
Mike Hawes, the CEO of SMMT made a statement following the latest developments in the HoC this week:
“Brexit is the clear and present danger and, with thousands of jobs on the line, we urge all parties to do whatever it takes to save us from ‘no deal’.”
30 January 2019
Mercedes have announced that they will not be producing any cars for the UK market in April and May. Additionally, there will be no production of the A-Class Saloon and S-Class in June.
This decision is not Brexit-related. However, if you would like a Mercedes between now and July it is recommended that orders are placed now.
Last night MPs were in the House of Commons voting on amendments to the bill that Theresa May presented to them on the 15 January (which was rejected by 230 votes).
Among those voted for were:
- An alternative to the Northern Ireland backstop (to avoid creating a hard border in Ireland)
- A rejection to the UK leaving the EU without a deal
There were 7 amendments in the debate, however, only two were successful in being passed.
What this means
Theresa May now has to go back to the EU and try to negotiate a new deal before our leaving date of 29 March at 11pm.
The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) are reporting their members are still preparing their businesses for the possibility of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. Their members include Ford:
“A ‘no deal’ Brexit would be catastrophic: it would severely impact Ford’s operations in the UK and across Europe…”
29 January 2019
Theresa May is due to take her amended Brexit deal to the House of Commons today. MPs are preparing to vote on the amendments and the vote will happen after 7pm this evening.
25 January 2019
Some EU countries have announced that they would like the legislation to be more generous to the UK should we crash out of the EU with no deal. This generosity extends to British Truckers carrying goods (including car parts) in and out of the EU.
24 January 2019
Theresa May is meeting with Trade Union leaders from Unison, TUC, Unite and the GMB to discuss her new proposal, in hopes that she will be able to encourage them to support her ahead of the vote taking place on 29 January. The leaders of the GMB, TUC and Unison have stated support for an extension to Article 50 to postpone our EU exit date. This would give ministers longer to negotiate a better deal with the EU, as well as allowing businesses such as the motoring industry more time to plan for any potential outcome.
Jaguar Land Rover has announced that in the wake of Brexit and with ‘No Deal’ still a possiblility, they are going to close their car and engine plants in Liverpool, Birmingham and Wolverhampton for an extra week. This means that the plants will be closed from the 8 April for 2 weeks.
22 January 2019
21 January 2019
Felixstowe Port has agreed to increase their roll-on, roll-off capacity by more than 40% in order to improve and aid in freight shipping following Brexit. The Port will also be going through infrastructure improvements in order to help them cope with the increased number of ferries they will experience. This could potentially aid car manufacturers who operate a Just-In-Time manufacturing process.
Theresa May presented her updated proposal for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU to Parliament. Following the presentation setting out her plans, May will be meeting with MPs and Union Leaders to discuss amendments.
20 January 2019
Theresa May met with her Cabinet to discuss the new proposal she put together to present on 21 January in the HoC.
16 January 2019
The Motion of No Confidence that was tabled by Jeremy Corbyn was unsuccessful, with Theresa May and her current cabinet winning by 19 votes. May was given until January 21 to come up with a new proposal to present to ministers in the House of Commons.
15 January 2019
In Europe, Bernhard Mattes the President of Germany’s motor authority has said that the HoC had done a disservice to the UK with their decision to vote against the proposal on the table. He also said ‘An unregulated Brexit becomes more and more likely’. He believes that a no deal Brexit would have some very serious consequences for the people and businesses of the UK.
Following the record votes against the proposed Brexit deal, the CEO of the SMMT Mike Hawes released a statement, saying ‘The vote against the Brexit deal on the table brings us closer to the ‘no deal’ cliff edge’. He added that this decision could be a catastrophic move for the automotive industry.
Theresa May presented her EU agreed Brexit plan to the MPs in Parliament. Following this, MPs voted in record numbers against the deal (432 to 202 against) and a Motion of No Confidence against the PM and current government was tabled by Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
27 November 2018
The SMMT conducted a survey, asking their members of their feelings about Brexit in relation to their business. The results showed, overwhelmingly, that there are concerns about the damage that a ‘No Deal Brexit’ would have on the industry. Over half of the businesses asked said that they had already put contingency plans in place to protect future business from potential damage, including reducing staff numbers and relocating to locations outside of the UK.
18 September 2018
BMW announced that they will be bringing forward their usual summer maintenance closure at the Mini Plant in Cowley, UK to April in order to ‘minimise the risk of any possible short-term parts-supply disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit’.
- March 14: Government to vote on whether to request an extension on Article 50
- Government confirm that there would be a 10% tariff on all new cars coming into the UK after March 29 2019 should we leave the EU without a deal
- Geneva Motor Show initiates more talk from car makers about the consequences of Brexit for the industry
- Aston Martin have announced a fund to help get them through any potential disruption following Brexit
- Porsche requesting UK customers sign agreement for post-Brexit tariff
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