A senior official at car giant Ford has warned that a hard Brexit could be a “significant threat” to the UK’s automotive industry.
Steven Armstrong, Ford’s group vice president, said a hard Brexit was a “red line” for his company. While we think this is a worst-case scenario and that a UK-EU deal will be reached, we will take whatever action is necessary to protect our business in the event of a hard Brexit
He said in a statement: “It could severely damage the UK’s competitiveness and result in a significant threat to much of the auto industry, including our own UK manufacturing operations.
“While we think this is a worst-case scenario and that a UK-EU deal will be reached, we will take whatever action is necessary to protect our business in the event of a hard Brexit.
“It’s vital that any UK-EU deal maintains frictionless trade, and we know from our own experience that a Canada-style deal will not deliver a seamless UK-EU border.
“We export engines and import vehicles under the current EU-Canada deal and there are significant customs and border checks at both ends. If this was introduced for all UK-EU trade, the level of congestion and blockages at the ports would undermine our just-in-time manufacturing system.”
If the UK is to remain competitive, any UK-EU trade deal must ensure guaranteed frictionless trade so that industry can plan for the longer term, he added.