The chief operating officer of Nissan has warned that up to 800,000 jobs could be at risk unless the UK renegotiates its Brexit deal with Brussels.
The UK is lobbying EU officials over a Brexit trade deal deadline which could pose an “existential threat” to the British automotive industry, putting jobs at risk.
Business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch and UK officials have raised the issue with counterparts in Brussels ahead of a looming cliff edge when new rules covering electric vehicles (EVs) come into effect at the start of 2024.
Vauxhall’s parent company Stellantis told MPs it will be unable to keep a commitment to make EVs in the UK without changes to the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) with the European Union.
The company – which also owns Citroen, Peugeot and Fiat – employs more than 5,000 people in the UK and committed to making electric vehicles at its Ellesmere Port and Luton plants two years ago.
It is one of several manufacturers to post warnings about the looming deadline.
Andy Palmer, a former chief operating officer at Nissan, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it is “impossible to meet local content rules unless you source your battery within the UK or EU” but the “supply chain at the moment isn’t there” in Britain.
He said the battery alone represents 40 per cent of the value of an electric car, adding: “We have been sleeping at the wheel when it comes to bringing battery plants to the UK.”
He said: “The cost of failure is very clear. It is 800,000 jobs in the UK, which is those jobs associated with the car industry.
“If you can’t meet these local content rules, if you don’t have a battery capability in the UK, then those car manufacturers will move to mainland Europe.”
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