Monday 7 January 2019 3:22 pm

Aston Martin hires supply chain chief and considers flying in car parts to prepare for no-deal Brexit

Reporter at City A.M. covering City politics, transport and law. Get in touch:

Reporter at City A.M. covering City politics, transport and law. Get in touch:

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Luxury carmaker Aston Martin has kicked into motion its Brexit contingency plans as the threat of a no-deal Brexit draws ever closer.

Aston Martin's chief executive Andy Palmer told Reuters it had hired a supply chain chief and was considering flying in components to deal with the effects of Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal on 29 March.

Aston has hired John Griffiths, who has worked for Nissan and aerospace firm Rolls-Royce in senior roles, as interim vice president for supply chain, a role Palmer said “there was a nagging need [for] which has been confirmed with Brexit”.

Palmer told Reuters that the company began considering the option to fly in components in October as well as bringing components in through ports other than Dover.

“I don’t think we’ve been in a position in the last two years where we’ve been further apart from understanding where we’re going to end up,” Palmer told Reuters.

“We programme a car to align and order all the parts for those cars twelve weeks in advance. You don’t need to do the maths to know that therefore takes us across the Brexit period. We have to prepare for the worst case scenario.”

MPs are due to vote on May's deal the week commencing 14 January, after she ceremoniously pulled the original vote in December. After the vote was pulled the government starting ramping up its preparations for a no-deal Brexit, including setting aside £2bn for various Whitehall departments.

Today UK car sales fell for the second year running, as the sector continues to battle Brexit uncertainties.

Dealerships sold 2.37m new cars in 2018, 6.8 per cent fewer than it managed in 2017, and 12 per cent below 2016’s peak of 2.69m, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

Last year SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes urged MPs to get behind May's deal.

“Leaving without a deal would be catastrophic – plants will close; jobs will be lost. Leaving is not what we wanted, but we recognise that the withdrawal agreement has been hard-fought and, crucially, delivers a transition period which steps us back from the cliff-edge," he said at the time. "We need a deal now, and we need an ambitious deal for the future that guarantees frictionless trade with our most important market – nothing else will do, and we urge all parties to remember what’s at stake.”