Ford could pull man­u­fac­tur­ing from UK in case of hard Brexit

Sunderland Echo - - Cars -

Ford could pull man­u­fac­tur­ing out of the UK if a hard Brexit makes do­ing busi­ness here too ex­pen­sive.

The ma­jor car man­u­fac­turer’s boss of Europe, the Mid­dle East and Africa, Steven Arm­strong, told Chan­nel 4 News that in­tro­duc­ing cus­toms bor­ders could cost the com­pany $1 bil­lion (£746 mil­lion) a year in tar­iffs.

He said: “We like be­ing in the UK and I’ll do what I can to pro­tect the busi­ness there be­cause it’s a great place for us to op­er­ate and it’s a big mar­ket for us, but if it’s not com­pet­i­tive we’ll do what we need to do.

“No deal would be dis­as­trous – not only for my busi­ness, but in­dus­try in gen­eral, so I don’t think ‘no deal’ is some­thing any­body should be happy with or push­ing for.

“Weve spent 40 years putting a sup­ply chain to­gether that uses the open Euro­pean mar­ket, and it would be very dif­fi­cult for us to quickly un­wind that. If we have a hard bor­der of some de­scrip­tion, even if we man­age with­out tar­iffs, we would have the po­ten­tial for goods hav­ing to stop at a cus­toms bor­der – that’s less pro­duc­tiv­ity and more cost to the busi­ness.”

The UK is Ford’s third­biggest mar­ket af­ter the USA and China, and it’s not the only car man­u­fac­turer concerned about do­ing busi­ness here in the fu­ture.

In­dus­try body the So­ci­ety of Mo­tor Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Traders (SMMT) says new figures show how im­por­tant a “fric­tion­less cus­toms bor­der” is to Bri­tain’s au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try.

SMMT pres­i­dent Tony Walker said at least 1,100 trucks cross into the UK from Europe de­liv­er­ing £35mworth of com­po­nents to UK ve­hi­cle and en­gine plants. He warned that a no-deal Brexit would add £4.5 bil­lion to the in­dus­try’s an­nual over­heads.

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