The chairman of Toyota’s European operations, Didier Leroy, has warned of the potentially serious threat that a no-deal Brexit could have on the company’s plants in the UK as the lack of a legal framework would make it “extremely complicated” for the Japanese firm to build new car models in Britain.
Toyota has two factories in the UK, which employ about 3,000 workers. The factory is, however, working under capacity as 90% of the cars manufactured in Toyota’s factory in the UK are exported in Europe.
With Leroy’s announcement, Toyota now becomes the major car manufacturer in the UK to warn of the complications that could arise should Britain crash out of the European Union. Nissan has previously warned that it will not build a sports utility vehicle in the UK and Honda already announced its plan to close the company’s factory in Swindon, located in southeast England.
Toyota currently has no plans to stop production in the UK, but a hard Brexit would disrupt its on-time supply networks. In its public statements, the company has warned that the resumption of strict border controls with the EU would significantly add to its overall costs, especially when combined with tariffs.
BMW’s executive board member, Peter Schwarzenbauer, joined the chorus of manufacturers in their concerns about the effect that Brexit will have on their production. Schwarzenbauer said BMW might be forced to stop producing certain car models at its plant near Oxford.
Japan’s ambassador to the UK, Koji Tsuruoka, has said that a number of Japanese businesses may be forced to divest from the UK due to Brexit.
The automotive industry currently employs more than 850,000 people in the United Kingdom.