Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) could move the bulk of its operations abroad to avoid £1.2bn in yearly tariffs in case of a “no-deal” Brexit, its chief executive said, making the Tata-owned carmaker the latest manufacturer to warn against the scenario.
Speaking to the Financial Times, chief executive Ralf Speth said the carmaker needed reassurances before committing to an £80bn investment plan in the UK, aimed at boosting production of electric flagship the i-Pace.
JLR’s retail finance partner is Lloyds Banking Group’s Black Horse. The two recently renewed their vendor finance partnership to last until late 2020. Black Horse declined to comment.
“Jaguar Land Rover’s heart and soul is in the UK,” Speth said. “We have to decide whether we bring additional vehicles, and electric vehicles with new technology with batteries and motors into the UK.
“We have other options. If I do it here and Brexit goes in the wrong direction, then what is going to happen to the company?”
According to JLR, its vehicles account for a third of UK car exports, and 40% of parts they use are imported from Europe.
Speth’s words come off the back of similar warnings by European industrial giants operating in the UK. Last month, BMW UK’s senior board member Ian Robertson said the company was drawing up contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit scenario, which include an alternative manufacturing base in the Netherlands.
UK trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has also called for arrangements that preserve tariff-free trade with the EU, with chief executive Mike Haws comparing a no-deal scenario to a “death by a thousand cuts”.
Additionally, Volvo Cars expressed concerns in April over Brexit’s effect on UK consumer spending, a comment that suggested uncertainty over future relations could make the UK a less attractive market for global carmakers.
Captive finance units have also warned against loss of passporting rights for financial services. Ford Credit was reported to be making plans for a Germany-based subsidiary in order to continue operating in Europe, while Volkswagen Financial Services said it was considering setting up a base of operations in the UK.