Trade body says UK's low-volume, high-value car sector is only set to grow if conditions are right.
The SMMT, the body that represents UK car manufacturers has issued a veiled threat to the government over Brexit negotiations, saying that the UK's low-volume, high-value car makers are on track to grow 60 percent by 2020.
The SMMT's latest Specialist Car Manufacturers Report shows that in 2016, Britain's niche automotive factories turned over a collective £3.6 billion, up 52 percent from 2012. In addition, employment from these brands increased by 11.5 percent to 11,250 over those five years – the majority in highly skilled specialist roles, while also supporting tens of thousands of additional jobs across the supply chain.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: 'We need certainty on Britain’s future trading relationships, including customs plans, market access, regulations governing the design, production and approval of vehicles, and rules around movement of skilled workers.
'This will provide the assurance the sector needs to remain competitive and make investment decisions that enable it to continue to develop innovative, exciting and desirable products that are the envy of the world.'
The SMMT reports that 65 percent of low-volume vehicles produced in the UK are exported to markets worldwide, across the EU and further afield to US, China, Japan and the Gulf States, making the sector a vital contributor to the country's economy.
Hawes recently warned of the prospective of no Brexit deal for the UK: 'We accept that we are leaving the European Union and we share the desire for that departure to be a success. But our biggest fear is that, in two years’ time, we fall off a cliff edge – no deal, outside the single market and customs union and trading on inferior WTO terms. This would undermine our competitiveness and our ability to attract the investment that is critical to future growth.'