British car manufacturing took an unprecedented hit in April as a result of several companies shutting down its UK production lines, in an attempt to soften the blow of the UK’s impending split with the European Union (EU).
A number of companies decided to halt, or shutdown factories in the UK on March 29, the supposed ‘Brexit Day’, including BMW, Rolls-Royce and Vauxhall.
The companies went ahead with its plans, despite the fact that the split has been pushed back to a later date, causing overall UK car production in April to drop by 44.5 per cent.
Data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that 70,971 units rolled off British production lines in April, compared to 127,970 in the same month last year.
Affected manufacturers have taken contingency measures including training for new customs procedures, stockpiling, and rerouting of logistics, in an effort to protect business when the departure takes place.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes had strong words regarding the ill-effects of Brexit on the automotive industry.
“Today’s figures are evidence of the vast cost and upheaval Brexit uncertainty has already wrought on UK automotive manufacturing businesses and workers,” he said.
“Prolonged instability has done untold damage, with the fear of ‘no deal’ holding back progress, causing investment to stall, jobs to be lost and undermining our global reputation.”
Mr Hawes urged the UK parliament to prevent the dreaded ‘no deal’ Brexit, which would see no prior agreements in place about what the UK’s relationship will be like with the EU after the split.
“This is why ‘no deal’ must be taken off the table immediately and permanently, so industry can get back to the business of delivering for the economy and keeping the UK at the forefront of the global technology race.”
It's predicted that if the UK leaves the EU over a substantial transition period, with a favourable deal, the decline in production volumes will ease by the end of the year as new models come on stream.
However, SMMT believes that a ‘no deal’ Brexit could worsen the decline, with the threat of border delays, additional export costs and production stoppages.
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