Motor industry chiefs have warned a no-deal Brexit could send output back to 1980s levels.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Trader (SMMT), should Britain crash out of the EU and fall back on WTO rules for a sustained period, UK car production is forecast to fall around 30% on recent levels to 1.07m units by 2021, a level consistent with the dark days of the 1980s.
The SMMT issued the warning as it revealed British car production has fallen for a tenth consecutive month with the March figures showing a decline of 14.4%, with only 126,195 units built.
The latest independent production forecast published this week illustrates what is at stake for British car manufacturing following Brexit. Assuming a positive result to the negotiations with a favourable deal and transition period maintaining the status quo, UK car production could be 1.36 million units in 2019, down from 1.52 million in 2018, before rising to 1.42 million by 2021.
Commenting Mike Hawes, chief executive of SMMT said; “Despite the extension, the Brexit clock is still ticking and a devastating ‘no deal’ remains a threat. This new period of limbo does not end the havoc for industry, with investment stopped and expensive factory shutdowns moved to avoid a Brexit deadline that has itself now moved. Just a few years ago, industry was on track to produce two million cars by 2020 – a target now impossible with Britain’s reputation as stable and attractive business environment undermined. All parties must find a compromise urgently so we can set about repairing the damage and diverting energy and investment to the technological challenges that will define the future of the global industry.”