JLR boss is­sues Brexit warn­ing to theresa May

Coventry Telegraph - - NEWS - By JONATHAN WALKER News Re­porter

THE boss of Jaguar Land Rover has told Theresa May that tens of thou­sands of jobs will be at risk if she gets Brexit wrong.

Ralf Speth, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Jaguar Land Rover, said: “We are ab­so­lutely firmly com­mit­ted to the UK, it’s our home.

“But a hard Brexit will cost Jaguar Land Rover more than £1.2 bil­lion a year - it’s hor­ri­fy­ing, wip­ing our profit, de­stroy­ing in­vest­ment in the au­tonomous, zero-emis­sions, we want to share.”

He was speak­ing at the ICC in Birm­ing­ham, at an au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try con­fer­ence at­tended by the Prime Min­is­ter.

Mrs May was an­nounc­ing plans to en­sure the UK re­mains a world leader in the de­sign and man­u­fac­ture of “ze­roe­mis­sion” ve­hi­cles which don’t con­trib­ute to air pol­lu­tion, in­clud­ing elec­tric cars.

But Dr Speth ad­dressed del­e­gates at the zero emis­sions sum­mit be­fore Mrs May gave her speech, and de­liv­ered a warn­ing about the ef­fects of leav­ing the EU with­out an ap­pro­pri­ate trade deal.

Like many other car­mak­ers, Jaguar Land Rover , which has ma­jor plants in Birm­ing­ham and Soli­hull, im­ports parts from across Europe.

Cur­rent EU rules al­low those parts to come in to the UK with­out de­lays, but leav­ing the EU with­out a re­place­ment deal in place could mean that pro­duc­tion slows down or grinds to a halt.

Dr Speth said: “Just one part miss­ing could mean stop­ping pro­duc­tion at a cost of £60m a day. That is a huge risk. We de­pend on free, fric­tion­less, seam­less lo­gis­tics.”

And he warned: “We, and our part­ners in the sup­ply chain, face an un­pre­dictable fu­ture if the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions do not main­tain free and fric­tion­less trade with the EU and un­re­stricted ac­cess to the sin­gle mar­ket.

“We ur­gently need greater cer­tainty to con­tinue to in­vest heav­ily in the UK and safe­guard our sup­pli­ers, cus­tomers and 40,000 Bri­tish-based em­ploy­ees.

“A bad Brexit deal would cost Jaguar Land Rover more than £1.2bn profit each year.”

He also said it was al­ready cheaper to make cars in Slo­vakia than in Bri­tain, adding: “What de­ci­sions will we be forced to make, if Brexit means not merely that costs go up, but that we can­not phys­i­cally build cars on bud­get in UK?”

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