Monday

10th May 2021

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

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.

Safety fears suspend work for EU staff at Northern Irish ports

The issue will be discussed on Wednesday at a video conference between EU Commission vice president Maroš Šefcovic, British cabinet minister Michael Gove, Northern Ireland's first minister Arlene Foster, and deputy first minister Michelle O'Neill.

News in Brief

  1. Lukashenko amends emergency transfer of power
  2. German centre-left picks Scholz as would-be chancellor
  3. EU has not ordered AstraZeneca vaccines beyond June
  4. Macron: Pandemic showed need for more EU integration
  5. Election win fuels Scottish nationalists' referendum plan
  6. Surge in migrant arrivals to Italian island
  7. EU embassy pays bail for Georgia opposition leader
  8. British aristocrats caught peddling Kremlin ties

Post-Brexit talks in last push until Sunday

The probability of no deal has increased as a last-ditch effort by British prime minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen did not bridge gaps.

Opinion

What a No Deal Brexit is going to look like

Research by the London School of Economics forecasts that a no-deal Brexit could be three times as bad as the pandemic for the UK economy, writes mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the president of the Committee of the Regions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU and US urge Israel to defuse Jerusalem violence
  2. Frontex 'mislabelling minors as adults' on Greek islands
  3. Has Albania really met the 15 tests to join the EU? No
  4. Vaccine fairness plus Russia on table This WEEK
  5. EU ambassadors flock to Red Square for Putin's parade
  6. MEPs win battle for bigger citizens' voice at Conference
  7. Hungary gags EU ministers on China
  8. Poland and Hungary push back on 'gender equality' pre-summit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us