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UK new car investment plummets as firms spend £330 million on no-deal Brexit

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Investment in the British car industry has all but stalled in 2019 as car makers instead pump hundreds of millions into preparing for a hard Brexit that may never happen.

The Brexit bill currently totals £330 million, reveals the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Investment in new models, facilities and jobs, in contrast, is just £90 million.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes says the fear of no deal is causing investors to “sit on their hands… the entire global car industry is investing [in the future], but in Britain, they’re spending on Brexit contingencies”.

This huge expenditure is “potentially for no reason” if a Brexit deal is struck.

Hawes described 2019’s £90 million newly-pledged investment in the UK car industry as “way below trend”. Billions are normally spent each year preparing for new models and factory expansions.

Over the past seven years, the average annual investment in the UK car industry is £2.7 billion.

What could turn the 2019 trend around? “An ambitious Brexit deal that maintains frictionless trade… we look to the new administration to get a deal done quickly so manufacturers can get back to the business of building cars”.

Last week, the SMMT wrote to new PM Boris Johnson warning no-deal Brexit was ‘an existential threat’.

Hawes admitted yesterday the organisation has yet to receive a reply.

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