Car industry hits ‘red alert’ as investment drops by £2bn in three years

Investment in the UK car sector has dropped by almost £2 billion in three years as Brexit fears put firms on “red alert”, the industry’s trade body said.

In 2015, car manufacturers invested £2.5 billion in the UK. Since then it has fallen ever year and in 2018 was just £589 million.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) say the fall-off in inward investment is down to Brexit uncertainty, which has “done enormous damage” according to SMMT chief Mike Hawes.

But there cold be worse to come.

The impact so far on output, investment and jobs “is nothing compared with the permanent devastation caused by severing our frictionless trade links overnight, not just with the EU but with the many other global markets with which we currently trade freely,” Hawes said.

“With fewer than 60 days before we leave the EU and the risk of crashing out without a deal looking increasingly real, UK Automotive is on red alert.”

The warnings have been aired following Jaguar Land Rover’s announcement that it is to cut 4,500 jobs, which The Independent’s Chief Business Commentator James Moore said showed a “Brexit bomb is exploding over Britain’s manufacturing industry“.

“All of a sudden reality is getting really scary. It is biting hard and it is biting into the lives of real people. Worse still, once these jobs; good, high quality manufacturing jobs that we could do with more of, are gone they are gone,” he added.

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