Monday

19th Oct 2020

Car industry has 'lots of questions' about Brexit

  • About 10 percent of EU's car manufacturing is done in the UK (Photo: Wooly Matt)

As for all industries in Europe, the outcome of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom is creating a lot of uncertainty. So too for the automotive industry.

“As you can imagine, there are still a lot of question marks,” said car industry lobbyist Erik Jonnaert.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“A lot of these questions will depend on how these negotiations will evolve, between the UK and the rest of the European Union … You have questions, we have questions as well,” he told EUobserver in an interview on Monday (27 June).

Jonnaert is secretary-general of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), a Brussels-based car lobby group, which has most of the big brands as its members.

“Clearly we have an interest to keep this internal market for automotive as much as possible alive, you can imagine that. The UK is a big manufacturing hub for the automotive industry,” he said.

According to ACEA figures, 1,539,456 passenger cars were produced in the United Kingdom in 2014. That was around 10 percent of EU production. Only Germany (36 percent) and Spain (12 percent) had a higher output.

The UK is also home to 33 of the EU's 221 manufacturing plants - only Germany has more (41).

“You could say there is no British manufacturer anymore - Jaguar Land Rover being Tata now - but there is a lot happening when it comes to automotive in the UK,” said Jonnaert, noting that especially Japanese car companies have production plants in the UK.

“These days a lot of companies operating there have a very integrated model. Their supplies for parts come partly from the UK, but also partly from the continent.”

According to Jonnart, there is an important trade flow of car components going to and from the UK.

“All these trade flows could be affected ... Big question mark. That will depend on the outcome of the negotiations.”

So far though, these negotiations will not happen until the UK government triggers the article 50 procedure. Despite a majority of those voting in the referendum calling for a British exit, or Brexit, from the EU, the vote itself did not make it so.

The UK is still an EU member.

“That means that also the UK is going to be still involved in the discussions on the revision of the type approval directive,” said Jonnaert, referring to the legislation which deals with certification of cars before they can be put on the market.

This process, called type approval, came under fire after the recent scandal with Volkswagen diesel cars. Last January, the EU commission proposed a reform of the framework.

Just like any other EU country, the UK will have a chance to give its opinion on the proposal.

“They still have an opportunity to change it, and to modify it,” said Jonnaert. “Will it apply to them, afterwards? Again, big question mark.”

The full interview with Erik Jonnaert on the aftermath of the Volkswagen scandal will be published on EUobserver later this week

Investigation

How the car industry won the EU's trust

Car companies are allowed to do carry out some testing of their own products thanks to some little-noticed legislation inspired by an industry-backed report.

EU tells UK to move if it wants post-Brexit deal

After their discussions on Brexit, where phones were not allowed in the meeting room, EU leaders called on the Commission to draw up contingency measures in case there is no deal.

EU summit to urge UK to make a move

EU leaders, gathering in person in Brussels despite increasing Covid-19 fears, will urge London to make a move in the tortuous negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal. They will also talks about climate, Covid and the budget.

News in Brief

  1. Italy takes extra measures as Covid-19 infections rise
  2. Coronavirus: Brussels worst in Europe, health minister says
  3. Vandalism sparks call for EU action on 5G disinformation
  4. Belgium installs curfew, closes restaurants and bars
  5. Ireland to probe Instagram's use of EU children's data
  6. Belarus: 10th weekend rally in a row against Lukashenko
  7. Warfare continues to rage in South Caucasus
  8. Turkish Cypriots elect nationalist president

EU warns London over undermining Brexit agreement

While a new internal market bill reported to "override" the legal force of the Brexit withdrawal agreement on critical issues, the UK government also set a surprise 15 October deadline to agree a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. France marks trauma of history teacher's murder
  2. Spain's Sanchez in storm over judicial appointments bill
  3. Violating promises and law, von der Leyen tests patience
  4. Brexit and EU budget in spotlight This WEEK
  5. A ghost town haunts the future of Cyprus
  6. EU leaders unsure how to talk to Turkey
  7. EU leaders discuss Turkey's air and sea 'provocations'
  8. EU's 2030 climate target left for December summit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us