British Auto Industry Risks Slow Decline After Brexit



Jack Ewing | New York Times

Aston Martin, Austin-Healey, Jaguar, Lotus, Triumph, MG. Those are just a few of the legendary auto brands that have rolled out of British factories over the years.

The list of British-made cars that consistently earned money is a lot shorter. Now that Britain is firmly outside the European Union, it could be on the verge of dwindling even more.

The Brexit deal worked out with the European Union last month avoided cross-channel tariffs that would have been disastrous for auto manufacturing in Britain. But the pact will create more customs paperwork and slow down supply chains, while creating disincentives for global carmakers to continue investing in British factories as they begin retooling for electric vehicles.

A provision of the deal that takes effect in 2027 could lead to punishing tariffs on cars made in the United Kingdom with imported batteries. If so, Britain would be cut out of the technology of the future, setting the stage for long-term decline. The resulting job losses, easily in the tens of thousands, would be a harsh manifestation of the economic cost of Brexit.

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