Jaguar Land Rover warns 'no-deal" Brexit could force it to leave the UK

The car company is calling for "greater certainty" in relation to Brexit

Jaguar Land Rover warns 'no-deal" Brexit could force it to leave the UK

A Jaguar Cars logo. Image: Dave Thompson/PA Wire/PA Images

Britain’s biggest carmaker has warned the UK Government that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit could force it to leave the country.

Jaguar Land Rover currently employs 40,000 people in the UK.

It has warned that if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal, it will be facing an increase of over £1bn (€1.13bn) a year in tariff costs.

It said any breakdown in negotiations will jeopardise its UK workforce – and 260,000 other jobs connected to the its supply chain.

JLR exports 80% of its cars worth £18bn (€20.3bn) annually.

300,000 jobs

The company’s CEO Ralf Speth said: “We, and our partners in the supply chain, face an unpredictable future if the Brexit negotiations do not maintain free and frictionless trade with the EU and unrestricted access to the single market.”

"We urgently need greater certainty to continue to invest heavily in the UK and safeguard our suppliers, customers and 40,000 British-based employees."

Dr Speth noted that JLR has invested around £50bn in the UK over the past five years – and plans to invest £80bn more in the next five.

"This would be in jeopardy should we be faced with the wrong outcome,” he said.

"For more than 250 years, since the era of Adam Smith, Britain has championed free markets and made the case for free trade.

"If the UK automotive industry is to remain globally competitive and protect 300,000 jobs in Jaguar Land Rover and our supply chain, we must retain tariff and customs-free access to trade and talent with no change to current EU regulations."

He was more specific on a potential exit from the UK in comments to the Financial Times when he said: "If I'm forced to go out because we don't have the right deal, then we have to close plants here in the UK and it will be very, very sad.

"This is hypothetical, and I hope it's an option we never have to go for.

Big business

The JLR warning comes in the wake of similar statements from BMW and Airbus.

Airbus said in June that it was making plans to leave the UK in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit, which could lead to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

BMW also weighed in - its customs manager Stephan Freismuth warning the company "cannot" manufacture its products in the UK if Brexit means its supply chain is disrupted.

Chequers retreat

The British Prime Minister is Theresa May is due to hold a special meeintg of her divided Cabinet on Friday to try and come up with a united Brexit strategy.

Last week, EU leaders took less than a minute to agree that “no substantial progress” had been made on a backstop solution for the Irish border.

The British Cabinet will use the chequers meeting to finalise the details of a new White Paper outlining what it expects the future relationship between the UK and the EU to look like.

Both sides expect the Brexit Withdrawal agreement to be finalised by October – however for this to be possible the UK Government must come up with a workable solution on the Irish border.

Theresa May speaks during a reception at 10 Downing Street in London to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS, 04-07-2018. Image: Tolga Akmen/PA Wire/PA Images

“f*** business”

The intervention in the debate by big business has strained relations with the UK Government.

The British Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described what he called the “threats” fro major firms as "completely inappropriate."

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson meanwhile has denied saying “f*** business” when asked about the interventions.

Mrs May has insisted the firms are being listened to.

With reporting from IRN ...