Brexit Remain vote ‘critical’ warns UK car industry

European Referendum: SMMT delivers ‘clear statement’ on UK automotive industry position

Nissan Great BritainThe UK automotive industry says a ‘Remain’ vote in this Thursday’s European Referendum is “critical to the future” of the industry – and has warned a vote to Leave for Brexit could jeopardise jobs and investment.

Supporting 800,000 jobs in the UK, the UK automotive industry is a major player and its trade body, the SMMT, has spoken today to deliver “absolute clarity on the sector’s position given recent misrepresentations.

“There should be no ambiguity about the sector’s views ahead of such a critical vote.”

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said a Remain vote will continue the automotive industry’s success, “rather than jeopardise it by increasing costs, making our trading relationships uncertain and creating new barriers to our single biggest and most important market, Europe.”

80% of cars built in Britain are exported, helping contribute £15.5 billion annually to the UK economy: nearly 6 in 10 go to Europe.

“Remaining will allow the UK to retain the influence on which the unique and successful UK automotive sector depends,” said Hawes.

Automotive industry leaders back Remain

The SMMT carried out a survey ahead of the campaigning period to find out members’ views on the European Referendum vote. 77% backed Remain; 9% backed Leave.

“Notably no large company said that an exit would be in their business’ best interests.”

Key reasons given for a remain vote by the SMMT include:

  • Unrestricted access to the world’s largest single market
  • The negotiating strength of the EU to secure international trade deals
  • The ability to shape technical regulations
  • Free movement of labour

The trade body has also today released statements from senior chiefs from Britain’s biggest automotive industry players.

Ken Gregor, Chief Financial Officer of Jaguar Land Rover: “Remaining in the EU – our largest market – will increase Jaguar Land Rover’s chances to grow, create jobs and attract investment in future technologies. Our European supply chain has been fundamental in helping us to meet customer expectations worldwide and achieve sustainable, profitable growth.”

Tony Walker, Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK: “After considered review, we believe that continued membership of the European Union is best for our business and for our competitiveness in the longer term.”

Dr Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management, BMW AG: “We firmly believe Britain would be better off if it remained an active and influential member of the EU, shaping European regulations which will continue to impact the UK whatever the decision on Thursday.”

Rory Harvey, Managing Director and Chairman of Vauxhall: “We are part of a fully integrated European company where we benefit from the free movement of goods and people. We believe not to be part of the EU would be undesirable for our business and the sector as a whole.”

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