By Tony Winterburn • 06 January 2021 • 6:55
Can the UK still be a gateway to Europe for car giants after Brexit?
The head of the country’s biggest auto trade body has said that the UK can still be the gateway to Europe for foreign carmakers despite the challenges of leaving the EU. Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that the UK would still be able to compete with rivals in the trading bloc after Brexit.
“The fundamentals of the industry are still strong. We still have a highly flexible, highly skilled workforce. We still have access to that massive European market tariff-free. We need to sweat our assets as best we can and make sure that we’ve got ourselves in the best position to reassert and reaffirm what we have to offer. It’s up to the industry, it’s up to manufacturers, and it’s up to the government.”
With a Brexit deal concluded, Hawes added that the first thing for the industry to do this year was to get negotiations over investment into the UK sector back on the table. Over the last four years, new investment into the country has dried up as firms awaited the result of the long-running trade talks.
Although the new national lockdown, set to last for at least a month and a half, is a concern, Hawes added that the fact that customers can still buy cars via click and collect would offset some of the declines.
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