Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) boss Ralf Speth has expressed concerns that a hard Brexit could end up costing them around £1.2 billion a year in tariffs, which could force them to move production out of the country.
Tariffs on £5 billion worth of imported parts for JLR (40 percent of the total number of parts used) would mount costs for the company, threatening its future operations here.
Speth warned of the threat to JLR of a no-deal Brexit, saying: “I don’t want to threaten anybody, but we have to make transparent the implications of the move. We want to stay in the UK. Jaguar Land Rover’s heart and soul is in the UK.”
If the only option to save the company post-Brexit were to be moving out of the UK, that would happen, 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.”
Speth highlighted the company’s progress since 2010, saying: “We built up this company over eight years. All that will be undone. It can go down the river so quickly. We urgently need greater certainty to continue to invest heavily in the UK and safeguard our suppliers, customers and 40,000 British-based employees."
JLR currently invests around £5 billion a year in research and development and in its production facilities. As the Jaguar and Land Rover brands grow their electric and autonomous offerings, this investment will grow.
Of particular note was Speth's warning about JLR's importance in fulfilling the Government's ambition for the UK to become a hub of electric and autonomous technology development. “Electrification and connectivity offer significant economic and productivity opportunities. Get Brexit wrong and British people, businesses and broader society lose the chance to lead in smart mobility”, he said.