The impact of Brexit on the automotive sector Contents


55.The supply chains that underpin the UK automotive sector are inextricably intertwined with those of the EU. The regulatory consistency and friction-free trade guaranteed by the single market and customs union have benefitted companies, consumers and workers in the sector. Outside the EU, the UK will be competing with those inside and out the single market to be a location for volume manufacturing for Europe and beyond. The Government has not yet identified regulatory or other advantages to make up for the competitive disadvantages of restricted access to the single market. Outside the EU, the Government will rightly pursue trade deals with third countries, as the EU is doing, but there is no evidence that EU membership has made it harder to increase exports; quite the opposite, in fact.

56.We welcome and support the Government’s commitment to securing a “deep and special partnership” with the EU post-Brexit, to expanding global trading opportunities and to adopting a pragmatic approach to the negotiations on a withdrawal agreement. For the automotive sector, the negotiation outcomes to be sought in pursuance of these agreed overarching objectives are clear and indisputable. There are no advantages to be gained from Brexit for the automotive industry for the foreseeable future. The negotiations are an exercise in damage limitation. The Government should acknowledge this and be pragmatic in seeking for the sector as close as possible a relationship with the existing EU regulatory and trading framework to provide for volume car making—one of our great manufacturing success stories—a hopeful future.

28 February 2018