Car firms' post-Brexit show of strength amid trade fears

September 29, 2016

Senior executives from car firms with British manufacturing operations, including Aston Martin, BMW Mini, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren, Nissan, Toyota and Vauxhall, have called for clarity on future trade deals following Brexit. Speaking on the eve of the Paris Motor Show, Mike Hawes, chief executive of the UK's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “The future success of this sector will hinge upon the ability of the UK to maintain the business and trading conditions that make the sector so competitive globally.” Manufacturers want to see a swift resolution to the uncertainty surrounding Britain’s trading relationship with Europe following the vote to leave the EU and ensure that any agreements maintain tariff-free trading across borders to protect markets and jobs. Earlier this year, a report from PA Consulting warned that long delays in finalising trade deals between the EU and the UK could threaten the future of several British car plants as production could be moved to countries with a more stable long-term outlook. UK car manufacturing achieved a 10-year high last year with a record 1.2 million cars exported to more than 100 countries. The UK’s biggest trading partner is the EU, home to 57.3% of UK-produced cars so far this year, followed by 12.1% to the US and 7.1% to China. Yesterday, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi warned it will be ‘impossible’ for Brexit talks to result in a deal that gives Britons more rights than others outside the EU, warning that leaving will be a ‘very difficult process’.

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