Jaguar Land Rover warns of £80 billion ‘bad Brexit’ toll

Carmaker says that it would not be able to stay in the United Kingdom without ‘frictionless’ access to the EU

FILE: An employee fixes a badge to the front grille of a Jaguar F-type automobile as it moves through the final inspection area at Tata Motors Ltd.'s Jaguar assembly plant in Castle Bromwich, U.K., on Thursday, March 16, 2017. For BMW AG, Tesla Inc. and other global automakers whose future is ever-more dependent on China’s burgeoning market, any gains from lower import tariffs this week will likely be short-lived -- thanks to President Donald Trump’s trade war. Unless President Trump backs down, on July 6 the U.S. will impose tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports, many of them parts used in products such as marine engines and power turbines. China will impose countervailing levies the same day -- including on U.S.-manufactured cars. Our editors select archive images of the leading brands affected by the trade war. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
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Jaguar Land Rover, Britain's biggest carmaker, warned Prime Minister Theresa May's government that a "bad Brexit" deal without "frictionless" access to the European Union would jeopardise as much as £80 billion (Dh389.22bn) in investments in the next five years.

Extra costs and delays in parts deliveries coming from outside the UK would cut profit by £1.2bn a year, Ralf Speth, chief executive of the manufacturer owned by Tata Motors, said late on Wednesday in an emailed statement.

“As a result, we would have to drastically adjust our spending profile,” Mr Speth said.

The warning came on the eve of a crucial cabinet meeting on Friday, during which Mrs May will try to find consensus on a compromise plan for the future economic relationship with the EU. It also comes less than a month after JLR, which is based in the West Midlands, promised to retool a plant near Birmingham for a new generation of electric cars.

All UK investment is in jeopardy, a spokesman said, when asked about the plan to make electrified cars at the historic Solihull plant. The company has already said it will move production of its Land Rover Discovery to Slovakia by early next year.

JLR is the latest automotive manufacturer to sound the alarm amid government indecision that has increased the chances of a so-called "hard Brexit". BMW and aerospace company Airbus have also said they may pull investments if Brexit makes trade more difficult.

“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,” Mr Speth said.