Auto industry could be hardest hit after Brexit

Experts have warned that the auto industry may be one of the hardest hit industries following Brexit, due to the sector’s reliance on exports and overseas talent.

The chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Ralf Speth, said on the BBC’s Today programme that his company might not be able to prepare for the future after Britain left the EU if it was unable to attract top talent from abroad.He told the programme that he is pushing for “free and fair access” to other EU markets, as well as Turkey after Brexit.Earlier this week, Coventy-based JLR posted record-breaking annual global sales, producing over 600,000 vehicles in the financial year to the end of March.JLR is leading the UK in inspiring tomorrow’s skills today, as we highlighted in the Winter 2016/17 edition of Relocate magazine. The company’s Inspiring Tomorrow’s Engineers programme is encouraging youngsters to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and pursue a career in engineering or manufacturing.Relocate’s annual black-tie Gala Awards Dinner will be held at the Science Museum, in London, on Thursday 11 May. This will be a very exciting evening, showcasing innovation across industry sectors and spotlighting the contribution of the global mobility sector, in its widest sense, to supporting innovation and business growth and inspiring the global careers of the future. Buy your tickets here. Booking deadline: Friday 28 April.

Damage “beyond repair”

In January, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) joined the debate and warned that a failure to establish proper trade deals after Brexit could damage the car industry “beyond repair”.The number of cars built in the UK hit a 17-year high last year and more cars are being exported from Britain than ever before. According to figures released by the SMMT, 1.7 million cars rolled off UK production lines last year, an increase of 8.5 per cent on the previous year and the highest output since 1999.More than one in two cars produced in the UK in 2016 was exported to Europe, thanks to a 7.5 per cent increase in demand from the continent.“The tremendous growth in UK production is testament to the global competitiveness of the UK automotive sector,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT. “Significant investment in new plants and products over the past few years has driven this growth, not a post-Brexit bounce,” he said.
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Finding the right deal

Mr Hawes added that the SMMT wants “trade deals but they must be the right deals, not rushed deals. Failure to do so could damage UK automotive manufacturing beyond repair.”The SMMT also said that ten new car models began production in the UK in 2016, nine of them from premium brands, meaning that he UK is now the second biggest producer of premium cars after Germany and the third biggest car producer in Europe.The UK’s biggest export destination for cars after Europe was the US, accounting for 14.5 per cent of all UK car exports.Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn has also admitted that his company’s UK investments may have to be “re-evaluated” depending on the outcome of Brexit.For related news and features, visit our Enterprise section.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit

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