Jaguar Land Rover has followed a number of major global businesses in warning the UK government that any trade tariffs introduced as part of a proposed Brexit deal could cause serious harm to its own business.
In terms of its output, Jaguar Land Rover is the UK’s largest motoring manufacturer, and said that aspects of the business from sales to jobs and the supply chain more generally could be seriously affected in the likely event that tariffs are introduced.
Hanno Kirner, strategy director for Jaguar Land Rover, spoke at the Paris Motor Show last week to warn of the consequences of tariffs for Britain’s growing motor industry, with new statistics showing overseas demand for British cars currently soaring.
The number of British cars produced for overseas markets has jumped by 10.2% in the last month alone. It is a major fear amongst those in the industry that Brexit could hamper the UK’s growing car industry and leave many factories unable to attract investment from foreign partners.
Kirner stated that sales of Jaguar cars to countries within the EU doubled last year, whilst Land Rover’s foreign sales rose by 20%.
The motor industry is also largely concerned about potential restrictions on the free movement of people within the EU, with a large proportion of manufacturers dependent upon overseas talent to design and manufacture cars in the UK. The UK’s talent pool is said to suffer from a shortage of skilled workers, meaning that companies must employ their workforce from abroad.
Earlier this year, Toyota made a similar warning to the government that Brexit could lead to duties as great as 10% being added to vehicles built in the UK. If the tariffs were imposed, claimed Toyota, the company would be forced either to cut costs or make its vehicles more expensive to compensate, thereby potentially further harming sales.
With almost 90% of the cars that Toyota produces in the UK being exported, the company says approximately 75% of those vehicles are sold within the EU.
In August, however, car dealer group Pendragon’s chief executive, Trevor Finn, claimed Brexit would be a “huge, huge advantage” to the UK in making foreign trade deals.