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Remain or leave? Carmakers confront hard Brexit choices

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 21, 2019 - Duration: 02:14s

Remain or leave? Carmakers confront hard Brexit choices

With Brexit just over a month away, carmakers are preparing for risk and potential opportunities offered by Brexit.

Francis Maguire reports.

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Remain or leave? Carmakers confront hard Brexit choices

Brexit is just over a month away, But uncertainty over how Britain will leave the EU, Means both luxury and mass market brands face tough decisions.

British carmaker Aston Martin - known as James Bond's favourite car - is still gearing up to produce its new sport utility vehicle in Wales.

And warns that a so-called 'no deal' - Britain exiting without a transitional arrangement - could be dangerous for the firm.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ASTON MARTIN CEO, ANDY PALMER, SAYING: "It is from an industry point of view utter madness because you materially affect the ability of a manufacturer to work in the way that we've become accustomed to." British carmaker Vauxhall is getting ready to produce a new line of commercial vans, Following fresh investment from its French owner PSA - they're counting on this money to sustain more than 1000 jobs.

Vauxhall believes a no-deal Brexit could lead to a 20 percent fall in new vehicle demand in Britain, But they see an opportunity to increase market share, as demand may rise for their modestly priced cars and SUVs.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) VAUXHALL UK MANAGING DIRECTOR STEPHEN NORMAN SAYING: "I do believe that in that reduction people will look very long and hard at their consumption patterns and they will say "do I need this enhanced brand strength which I am actually paying for that has no material value or should I not look more seriously at the offer from Vauxhall?

So, yes I do believe that there is a market share gain for Vauxhall in the event of a hard Brexit vs a soft Brexit." With no deal a real prospect when Britain leaves the EU on March 29th, Plans by carmakers to leave the country - and the job losses that go with it - have dominated headlines.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) BRITISH BUSINESS MINISTER GREG CLARK, SAYING: "I am not going to understate what a bitter blow this is to the 3,500 skilled and dedicated workers at Honda in Swindon and their families." Honda announced last week it will close its only UK car plant in 2021, and Nissan cancelled plans to build a new SUV in Britain.

Though Honda said its plans weren't linked to Brexit, But whether they see opportunity or risk - carmakers are preparing for the new world Britain's inhabits after Brexit.

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