Brexit would throw automotive industry into jeopardy, SMMT warns

Jessica Morris
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His comments were backed up by leading execs within the automotive industry (Source: Getty)

A leading industry body issued a stark warning about Brexit three days before the vote, saying it would throw the success of Britain's automakers into jeopardy.

It would lead to "increasing costs, making our trading relationships uncertain and creating new barriers to our single biggest and most important market," Mike Hawes, chief executive of the society of motor manufacturers and traders (SMMT), warned.

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His comments were backed up by leading execs from industry titans such as Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota, BMW and Vauxhall. The industry, which emerged from the recession stronger, is now a leading global player.

The SMMT added had issued the statement to ensure there was absolute clarity on the sector’s position, given what is described as "recent misrepresentations in the EU referendum debate".

Read more: UK Steel says industry crisis would worsen if Britain leaves the EU

It argued automotive firms also benefit from EU membership through more negotiating strength in international trade deals and the ability to shape technical regulations and free movement of labour.

A survey commissioned by the SMMT before referendum campaigning started shows 77 per cent of its members said staying would be best for their business, while nine per cent thought a leave vote would be best.

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