Tony Walker, president of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, has called on the government to make quicker progress on agreeing a transition period following Brexit.
He told guests at the SMMT annual dinner that the lack of progress over Brexit was already having an impact on the automotive sector: “We have huge challenges. Consumer confidence has fallen leading to a downturn in sales. Uncertainty about Brexit – and market confusion over diesel – are taking their toll.”
The SMMT has calculated that WTO tariffs would add at least £4.5 billion to the motor industry’s annual overheads. Not only that, the industry would also be penalised by the imposition of customs checks, red tape and fees on goods that currently move friction free across borders.
“We will never stop striving to be competitive. But we ask government to help provide the conditions in which we can compete. Like every other industry, we need certainty now,” said Walker.