Car industry launches no-deal Brexit strategy to bolster supply chain

Joe Curtis
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No-deal Brexit strategy will include a free helpline for concerned suppliers (Source: Getty)

The car industry has launched what it’s called a Brexit Readiness Programme to prepare vehicle manufacturers for the UK potentially falling out of the EU without a deal.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) made the move following various members’ warnings about the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the health of the industry.

Read more: 'A step in the right direction': SMMT lends support to May's Chequers plan

Its strategy focuses on protecting the industry’s supply chain backbone, with the body saying that 69 per cent of suppliers employ fewer than 10 people.

These firms lack the necessary resources to adequately prepare for the consequences of no deal, claimed the SMMT, saying such an outcome would lead to dramatic, immediate trade changes between Britain and mainland Europe.

SMMT boss Mike Hawes said: “A strong local supply chain is the backbone of any manufacturing sector, and ours has thrived thanks to massive reshoring efforts and the ability to trade freely and frictionlessly with the EU.

“A no-deal Brexit could have devastating consequences. With the clock ticking on negotiations, businesses must plan for all eventualities, including the worst. Our new support package seeks to mitigate the threat of no deal by helping businesses navigate the complex trade realities of a post-Brexit landscape.”

Phase one of the strategy will see five law firms and accountancy firms offer advice and consultancy services to SMMT members, including a free helpline on Brexit.

They can advise on trade and tax arrangements outside the EU, customs procedures and changes to regulations on data protection, employment law and immigration.

The SMMT has called Theresa May's proposed Chequers plan a step in the right direction.

Read more: Car manufacturers warn no-deal Brexit would hit UK production

It comes after BMW, Vauxhall, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Toyota have all warned against the possible fallout from a no-deal Brexit.

"If we have anything that has an impact on your competitiveness of manufacturing in the UK, it will definitely have an impact on future investment decision," Toyota boss Johan van Zyl told the BBC last week.

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