According to the European automotive industry association and lobby group ACEA, the potential exit of Great Britain from the European Union would have a major impact on the country’s highly developed automotive industry.
Automakers from Ford and BMW to Nissan have been expressing their concerns about the United Kingdom leaving the 28-country economic and political bloc as media reports have been piling up that Prime Minister David Cameron would set in motion a referendum on the nation’s EU membership situation next year instead of 2017 as a political gift for winning the recent general election. “Frankly it will be important for the UK automotive industry to stay within the EU,” said ACEA secretary-general Erik Jonnaert. If the United Kingdom gets out of the European Union the country could see new duties when trading with the crucial European export markets, say the automakers. Additionally, the British government would have no way of influencing the upcoming EU regulations concerning the automotive industry.
Currently Great Britain is the continent’s second-biggest auto market when it comes to new car sales behind Germany and Europe’s third-largest auto producer after Germany and Spain. “European automotive standards are seen as globally relevant and are copied by many markets outside Europe, so [the UK] would miss an opportunity to shape them,” added the ACEA official. Additionally, around 80 percent of UK-built cars last year were exported, with 50 percent of the tally heading towards European Union member states, as shown by data from the British SMMT industry group.