Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers in the UK, recently posted this message on the association’s website.
There remains much uncertainty in the air for UK automotive businesses, which is especially concerning in a strategic industry that works on long lead times. A number of manufacturers in the UK have already announced production pauses if we leave the European Union with no deal on 31 October, highlighting the immediate impact that such a move will have.
We are doing all we can to support our members during this period, with a Brexit Readiness Programme to help inform decision making and try to ease the effects of ‘no deal’ and regular webinars with in-house and outside experts – the next one taking place next Tuesday and focusing on changes to the regulatory landscape.
Our online portal for members offers the latest information and access to legal experts via our Brexit helpline, to ensure that automotive businesses in the UK are as well-equipped as possible should the worst happen. However, no amount of contingency planning can fully mitigate all the effects of a disorderly exit – as no one knows for sure what the environment will be.
This week, a delegation from SMMT has been in Detroit and Washington DC, holding meetings with high-level stakeholders and sister organisations, and building relationships that will be valuable in the coming months. The automotive sector is globally interconnected and it is crucial that we maintain an outward-looking vision, especially when global trade tensions – which include the possibility of the US leveraging additional tariffs on automotive imports under Section 232 – could further undermine global growth.
A good sign that decision makers are aware of the depth of resources and talent to be found in the UK was this week’s boost to Welsh automotive manufacturing. Such decisions have an impact along the supply chain and are welcome at this difficult and uncertain time for the industry. If we’re going to see further such developments we urgently need a Brexit deal that avoids costly friction and maintains our global competitiveness.