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

In 2019, car firms have spent FOUR TIMES as much preparing for Brexit as they have invested in new models and workers, new figures reveal.

Mini Plant Oxford

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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Richard Aucock
Richard is director at Motoring Research. He has been with us since 2001, and has been a motoring journalist even longer. He won the IMCO Motoring Writer of the Future Award in 1996 and the acclaimed Sir William Lyons Award in 1998. Both awards are run by the Guild of Motoring Writers and Richard is currently chairman of the world's largest organisation for automotive media professionals. Richard is also a juror for World Car Awards and the UK juror for the AUTOBEST awards.


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