Brexit Halves Manufacturer Investments in the UK Automotive Industry

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders 4 photos
Photo: BusAndCoachBuyer
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With only months to go until Brexit, the UK automotive industry is already feeling the negative impact of the decision to leave the European Union.
Specifically, manufacturer investments in the once-thriving industry have decreased by a half, while demand and production have also fallen. Job cuts have been announced and interest in buying a new car is also on the downfall.

These are the startling figures revealed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which is urging the government to come up with a new plan post-Brexit, Platts reports. A new deal must be in place before the country leaves the EU, and it should be at least as profitable for all parties involved as the one under EU.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, points out that manufacturer investments into machinery, tooling and equipment, new plants, models and model development has dropped by half in a few months, compared to the same timeframe of last year. Between January and June this year, automotive investments totaled £347.3million, down from £647.4million in the first half of 2017.

Things aren’t looking up, either, Hawes said at the UK Automotive’s 19th annual Sustainability Report. There is growing frustration with the current situation, and specifically with the lack of a new, favorable trade deal after Brexit.

Today's figures show the critical importance of the automotive industry to the UK economy,” Hawes said. “The current position, with conflicting messages and red lines goes directly against the interests of the UK automotive sector which has thrived on single market and customs union membership.”

There is no credible plan B for frictionless customs arrangements, nor is it realistic to expect that new trade deals can be agreed with the rest of the world that will replicate the immense value of trade with the EU. Government must rethink its position on the customs union,” Hawes added.

The automotive sector in the UK registered impressive growth for several consecutive years before the decision to leave the EU. This makes the current decline all the more poignant.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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