Single market exit could increase car prices
British motorists face paying an average £1,500 more for their vehicles if the UK has to give up membership of the single market, the car industry has warned.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the move could add billions of pounds of tariffs.
SMMT president Gareth Jones said that these could add at least £2.7bn to imports and £1.8bn to exports every year.
Britain exported just under 80% of the 1.6 million cars it built last year and imported more than 85% of the 2.6 million cars sold in the country.
Without single market access, cars could face World Trade Organisation tariffs of 10% unless a special deal is struck.
That could push up the price of cars imported to the UK from Europe by an average of £1,500 if brands and retail networks could not absorb the costs, Mr Jones said.
Speaking on Tuesday evening , Mr Jones told SMMT members that the industry’s main strengths – its workforce – would stand it in good stead but success could not be taken for granted.
“We operate in an intensely competitive environment,” he said.
“We need to create the right conditions for future competitiveness, for developing skills and securing the strength of our economy by investing in research and development, and enabling new technologies to be developed here in the UK.
“The government has – commendably – put industrial strategy at the heart of business and the department for business. It does so as it faces its toughest challenge – leaving the EU.
“We must make the right decisions – on trade, on regulations and on business competitiveness.”