British car makers are scrambling to source parts from within the UK in order to protect the industry from a hard Brexit.
Industry leaders said manufacturers are examining British supply chains in preparation for potentially expensive tariffs following a hard Brexit, the Times reported.
Currently around two third of parts for the UK car industry are imported, for some vehicles – such as the Vauxhall Astra – it is as high as three quarters.
Car parts may also cross the Channel as many thirty times during production.
In expectation of leaving the EU single market and the customs union, car bosses are looking to source 65 percent of the parts needed from UK suppliers within ten years.
According to the Times, the industry is “on a knife-edge” because of the threat of having World Trade Organisation tariffs imposed on goods. WTO tariffs would lead to costs of between 2.5 and 4.5 percent on imported parts.
A recent report by PA Consulting said Toyota and Honda factories in the UK were most at risk of closing due to Brexit because they are “highly reliant on exports to Europe and have relatively low margins and profitability”. Mini, Nissan and Vauxhall also face risks the report said.
PA automotive expert Thomas Geottle told the Times: “The easiest place to close plants is going to be in the UK because the unions are not as strong and government not as supportive as they are in Germany and France, and the plants are more expensive to maintain than they are in Poland.”
Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 59 percent of parts in British made cars are brought in from abroad – 80 percent of which come from the EU.
SMMT communications director, Tamzen Isacsson, said: “A single car is made up of around 30,000 parts, which can move across the Channel multiple times before the final vehicle is completed. We must at all cost avoid tariffs and other barriers such as customs checks, which would cause delays and jeopardise our competitiveness.”