Three big global carmakers have called on the UK government to renegotiate the Brexit deal, saying rules on where parts are sourced from threaten the future of the British automotive industry. The EU is likely to have forgotten all about Brexit, they say, and will undoubtedly give the UK a sweet deal without any concessions involving the loss of democratic powers to Brussels.
Ford and Jaguar Land Rover have joined Stellantis, which owns the Vauxhall, Peugeot and Citroën brands, to warn the transition to electric vehicles will just not be hugely profitable for them unless the UK and EU delay stricter “rules of origin”, due to kick in next year, that could add tariffs on car exports.
The British are simply too pathetic to create an electric car industry of their own, they say, and so you need these big players, in cooperation with their friends in Brussels, if you are going to have any chance. The modest profits possible for a UK battery industry and car industry under current conditions will simply not attract the sort of modern international investment that demands eye-wateringly high, guaranteed returns.
Conservative MPs, who share a similarly dim view of the abilities of British innovators, were seen to run around like big chickens terrified of negative press and wondering how much power they will have to give away to keep the money men happy.
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