Tuesday 4 December 2018 2:33 pm

No-deal Brexit would be ‘disastrous’ for Toyota and could cost £10m a day, MPs hear

City A.M’s industry and manufacturing correspondent. You can follow me on @alexmdaniel, or email: alex.daniel@cityam.com

City A.M’s industry and manufacturing correspondent. You can follow me on @alexmdaniel, or email: alex.daniel@cityam.com

Toyota has warned MPs that a no-deal Brexit would be “disastrous” to its car making operation in UK, and could cost the company around £10m a day.

Tony Walker, deputy managing director of the company in Europe, said it was “unimaginable” that it would be able to change customs procedures to fit World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules overnight, if the UK crashed out of the European Union at the end of March without a deal.

Speaking to the business select committee, he said Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement was “much better than the confusion we have had. I don't think I am alone in business in saying that”.

“To say because it is not perfect we should go back to square one is not understandable to us as business people,” he added.

His comments follow similar sentiments from companies like Airbus, whose senior UK vice president last week called the deal a “step forward” which could allow the company to restart frozen UK investment it MPs voted it through.

Walker continued that imposing different emissions rules on cars in the UK to those in the EU would push prices up for buyers.

“If we were to have different emissions regulations, the costs would be huge and that cost would be passed on to the market,” he said.

"It means that the UK consumer would pay for the R&D costs of those additional or more stringent regulations.”

Toyota set up in the UK 30 years ago on then-PM Margaret Thatcher’s invitation to use the country as a European hub. As a result, he said, Japanese companies were “disappointed” with the decision to leave the EU.

Walker reiterated concerns the company has voiced in recent months over how a no-deal scenario would cripple the company’s UK supply chain.

“Toyota have 50 trucks a day coming through the tunnel and hold just 4 hours of parts. Everything has to be in sequence,” he said.

“It would be very very difficult for us to cope with. The supply chain across Europe is integrated, it's also collecting parts for other plants in Europe.

“The value of the cars we make is £10 million a day. If we lose that sort of value, it's very very challenging for us.”