Ford’s European boss has backed the prime minister’s Brexit plans, saying leaving the EU without a deal would be a ‘catastrophe’ for the car industry.
Speaking to The Times, Steven Armstrong, head of Ford Europe, said: “A no-deal Brexit would be a catastrophe. It’s important we get the agreement ratified that’s on the table at the moment.”
The paper reports Armstrong described the current deal Theresa May has proposed as ‘not perfect’ but would at least allow the carmaker to plan for Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Ford currently does not build any cars in the UK but does have two engine manufacturing plants in the country — based in Dagenham and Bridgend respectively.
Armstrong has spoken out against a hard Brexit before. In a statement published in October, he said: “It could severely damage the UK’s competitiveness and result in a significant threat to much of the auto industry, including our own UK manufacturing operations.
“While we think this is a worst-case scenario and that a UK-EU deal will be reached, we will take whatever action is necessary to protect our business in the event of a hard Brexit.
“It’s vital that any UK-EU deal maintains frictionless trade, and we know from our own experience that a Canada-style deal will not deliver a seamless UK-EU border.
“We export engines and import vehicles under the current EU-Canada deal and there are significant customs and border checks at both ends. If this was introduced for all UK-EU trade, the level of congestion and blockages at the ports would undermine our just-in-time manufacturing system.”