Failure to secure a trade deal for Britain when it exits the European Union next year could set the UK auto sector back two decades، as the Daily Mail said.
That's the warning from leading European car makers and parts suppliers today as they urged leaders to reach an agreement at a summit in Brussels.
The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association and European Association of Automotive Suppliers، along with BMW and brakes maker Brembo، jointly warned that a no-deal exit would be catastrophic for an industry that relies heavily on frictionless trade between Britain and mainland Europe. 'If we are continuing to be taken hostage by this situation، the flourishing UK auto industry could come back to the situation it was at 20 to 25 years ago،' said Roberto Vavassori، a management board member at Brembo and president of CLEPA.
Mr Vavassori was hinting at the collapse of Britain's auto sector in 1990s caused by the decline of British Leyland and its successor Rover Group.
He said it was investment from around the world that helped the UK's motor industry recover to the position it was in today. However، the ACEA said 'no amount of contingency planning can realistically cover all the gaps left by the UK's withdrawal from the EU on WTO terms'، referring to a no-deal scenario in which Britain would have no preferential access to EU markets.
The organisation - which represents the 15 largest Europe-based car، van، truck and bus makers - said auto factories in Britain and Europe rely on 'just-in-time' or 'just-in-sequence' delivery and production، where parts are constantly in transit in the knowledge that they can be delivered without delay.
If we are continuing to be taken hostage by this situation، the flourishing UK auto industry could come back to the situation it was at 20 to 25 years ago Roberto Vavassori، Brembo and CLEPA According to ACEA، some 1،100 EU trucks packed with automotive components cross the Channel daily.
Any form of hold-up at customs could cause enormous logistical issues if it leads to disruptions to production schedules.
Erik Jonnaert، secretary general of the ACEA، said: 'Our members are already making contingency plans and are looking for warehouse spaces to stockpile parts.
'However، the space required to stockpile for more than a short time would be absolutely huge – and expensive.'
Mr Jonnaert also warned that the customers would be heavily impacted by a no-deal Brexit.
With a 10 per cent tariff applied to all cars traded between the UK and the EU as part of World Trade Organisation agreements، manufacturers are most likely to pass these additional costs directly to motorists.