Professor Dr Ralph Speth has urged the government to provide certainty for businesses as it prepares to publish a White Paper outlining its proposed post-Brexit trading relationship with the European Union.
Dr Speth is at the helm of Britain’s largest vehicle manufacturer, which has a factory in Halewood, and is calling for guaranteed tariff-free access and frictionless trade with the EU.
He says: “Jaguar Land Rover’s heart and soul is in the UK. However we, and our partners in the supply chain, face an unpredictable future if the Brexit negotiations do not maintain free and frictionless trade with the EU and unrestricted access to the single market.
“We urgently need greater certainty to continue to invest heavily in the UK and safeguard our suppliers, customers and 40,000 British-based employees.
“A bad Brexit deal would cost Jaguar Land Rover more than £1.2 billion profit each year. As a result, we would have to drastically adjust our spending profile; we have spent around £50bn in the UK in the past five years – with plans for a further £80bn more in the next five. This would be in jeopardy should we be faced with the wrong outcome.”
Halewood employees are among 40,000 Jaguar Land Rover workers at sites around the UK, including its largest car plant at Solihull in the Midlands.
A further 260,000 jobs in the UK supply chain are said to be provided by the company, which counts mainland Europe as one of its largest markets with 20% of cars being sold there.
Dr Speth adds: “For more than 250 years, since the era of Adam Smith, Britain has championed free markets and made the case for free trade. 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.
“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.”