Automakers Proceed With Brexit Shutdowns Despite Delay

Automakers Proceed With Brexit Shutdowns Despite Delay

Automakers Proceed With Brexit Shutdowns Despite Delay

Car manufacturers throughout the UK have proceeded with Brexit shutdowns. This is despite a deadline extension, advancing the date the country will leave the EU…

Stunned By Speculation 

UK-based car manufacturers are proceeding with planned shutdowns. This is despite the date of our departure from the EU being delayed to January 31st (at the latest). More than half of the nation’s automotive industry had planned Brexit shutdown periods for a departure date of October 31st. This was a repeat of plans based on the original departure date of March 31st. Jaguar Land Rover will cease production at Wolverhampton, Solihull, Halewood and Castle Bromwich. Workers will instead receive training. BMW is moving forward with the production of the electric Mini, but closed for Thursday evening and Friday and Monday shifts. Toyota closed its Burnaston plant for a day last Friday. Nissan’s vast Sunderland plant was unaffected, as was Vauxhall’s sites at Ellesmere Port and Luton.

Ongoing speculation is wreaking havoc on the industry, which is struggling to attract investment. Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, explained the situation. He said, “continuing Brexit uncertainty and the ongoing threat of no deal – a threat that will remain until we have our new trading relationship with the EU agreed and implemented – have left automotive manufacturers unable to plan for the long term”.

A Complicated Situation 

Whilst most automakers favoured the UK remaining in the EU, many simply sought to avoid a ‘no deal’ scenario. Boris Johnson’s recent success in achieving a deal with Brussels has been compounded by the call for a General Election. It means that the industry could face three very different scenarios. A Tory majority would probably avoid any more extensions to the nation’s departure, but naturally not all automakers will be happy with the terms of the withdrawal. A Labour or coalition government would probably see further extensions. Alternatively, a hung parliament could see the country veer towards a ‘no deal’ scenario again. In other words, it’s anyone’s guess and the industry is trying to mitigate the risks of each simultaneously.

Brexit shutdowns are designed to reduce the disruption caused by Brexit. This is especially the case concerning changes to customs and altered supply-chains. But with so many potential eventualities, it’s impossible for manufacturers to prepare for everything. At this stage, most of them have accepted the 2016 referendum result. Most simply want clarity and, for now, it continues to elude them.

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