Light commercial vehicle prices could rise by more than 20% as a result of Brexit, according to Acea (the association of European automotive manufacturers).
The implementation of trade tariffs on the UK when it falls out of the single market could push up LCV prices by 10 to 22%, Acea claimed.
In 2016 nine out of 10 commercial vehicles built in the UK were exported to Europe while 80% of vehicles imported to the UK were produced in Europe.
Erik Jonnaert, secretary general of ACEA, said: “Today, the automotive industries of the European Union and the United Kingdom are closely integrated from the economic, regulatory and technical points of view. Any changes to this level of integration will most certainly have an adverse impact on automobile manufacturers with operations in the EU or the UK, as well as on the European economy in general.”
Sigrid de Vries, secretary general of CLEPA (the European association of automotive suppliers) stressed that vehicle manufacturers and component suppliers are entangled in an integrated production network across Europe.
De Fries argued: “Tariff- and burden-free market access, as well as a stable and predictable regulatory framework, are crucial instruments to sustain the supplier industry’s technology leadership and secure investments and jobs.”
The SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) has warned that a failure by the Government to secure a tariff-free trade deal for the automotive sector as it negotiates the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU would lead to “the worst foreseeable outcome” of trading fees being levied under World Trade Organisation regulations.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, told What Van?: “The views of our members were consistent, overwhelmingly they wanted the UK to remain in the EU. It is our task to safeguard the benefits the EU provides.”
While Hawes acknowledged the UK is destined to leave the single market and lose the “frictionless trade” with Europe that comes from belonging to the Customs Union because the Government’s stated priority is in controlling the UK’s borders, he called for the status of non-UK nationals working here to be guaranteed.
“We depend on talent coming from Europe,” he said.
“We need the best possible deal,” Hawes insisted. “The Government must recognise the automotive industry and that we are integrated with the EU automotive industry.”