Tuesday 25 June 2019 10:11 am

No-deal Brexit could deliver 'knockout blow' to UK car industry

The UK’s car industry has stepped up its no-deal Brexit warning, saying that crashing out of the EU would trigger “the most seismic shift” in trading conditions that the industry has ever seen. 

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the car industry organisation, has urged the UK’s next prime minister to secure a Brexit deal as a “number one priority” once he enters Downing Street. 

Read more: UK car industry sees worst month for six years in May

The group said the end of borderless trade could cause “crippling disruption” and World Trade Organisation tariffs would “deliver a knockout blow” to competitiveness.

The warning comes as Boris Johnson, the current favourite to become the new Conservative Party leader, said he was willing to take the UK out of the EU without a deal. 

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Automotive matters to UK trade and to the economy, and this report shows that, if the right choices are made, a bright future is possible.

“However, ‘no deal’ remains the clear and present danger.

“We are already seeing the consequences of uncertainty, the fear of no deal.

Read more: British car industry troubles run far deeper than Brexit

“The next PM’s first job in office must be to secure a deal that maintains frictionless trade because, for our industry, ‘no deal’ is not an option and we don’t have the luxury of time’.

The automotive industry is the UK’s biggest exporter of goods, accounting for more than 14 per cent of total exports, SMMT said.