Europe’s leading automotive representatives have joined forces to warn of the ‘catastrophic consequences’ of a no-deal Brexit, as the October 31 departure date looms.
In a rare joint statement, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association and European Association of Automotive Suppliers, supported by the SMMT and 20 of its mainland equivalents, stress that barrier-free trade is vital to the ongoing maintenance of Europe’s automotive output.
“European Automotive is deeply integrated and the benefits of free and frictionless trade have helped our sector become one of Europe’s most valuable assets, delivering billions to economies and supporting millions of livelihoods across the EU,” said SMMT boss Mike Hawes. “A ‘no deal’ Brexit would have an immediate and devastating impact on the industry, undermining competitiveness and causing irreversible and severe damage,” he added.
The statement emphasises the importance of the single market and customs union, and predicts that Britain leaving without a deal would trigger a ‘seismic shift’ in trading conditions. OEMs and the aftermarket alike could be liable to pay billions of euros in tariffs, with increased checks at the border decimating the ‘just-in-time’ production model and adding delays at a cost of roughly £50,000 per minute.
Currently, European Automotive produces 19.1 million vehicles annually and employs 1/16 of the entire EU workforce. Committee of French Automobile Manufacturers chairman Christian Peugeot said: “It’s not just a British problem, we are all concerned in the European automotive industry, and even further.
“Be it as exporters to the UK market or producers locally, which we are both, we will inevitably be negatively affected.”