Bosses at car giant Ford warn firm could lose millions after Brexit
Bosses at Ford, the world’s largest car manufacturer, have voiced their “deep concerns” to staff that the firm could lose “hundreds of millions of dollars” every year after Brexit.
The firm’s UK director Andy Barratt, alongside Nick Rothwell, the CEO of Ford Credit Europe, have written to their near-14,000 workers outlining the “potential downsides” if the UK quits the bloc.
In a letter seen by Sky News, the pair thank staff for helping Ford make a “small pre-tax profit of $259m” last year and forecast future “headwinds” such as competition and market uncertainty.
They argue the firm can adequately prepare for such issues, which they say are “beyond our control”, before adding:
“However we have deep concerns about the uncertainty and potential downsides for our business that could arise if the UK votes to leave the European Union.
“The UK is our largest sales market in Europe and home to significant Ford design, engineering and manufacturing operation.
“The IMF, OECD and Bank of England, among others, have warned that a Leave vote could create economic instability and uncertainty.
“Although the full consequences of this are unknown, we estimate that the potential cost to our business could be hundreds of millions of dollars every year.”
Mr Barratt and Mr Rothwell argue the business will be stronger and more secure if the UK remains “a member of a reformed EU”.
CAR FIRMS FOR REMAIN
Other figures in the car industry have also today warned that they stand to lose out if the UK quits the EU.
Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said Brexit would “jeopardise” the success of the industry.
“Remaining will allow the UK to retain the influence on which the unique and successful UK automotive sector depends,” he added.
Manufacturers including Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota and BMW are writing to their employees to lay out their support for staying in the EU.
The head of the BMW’s Works Council, which represents the business’ employees across Europe, has written to members to say a Remain vote will help it “protect and strengthen” workers.
“National solo attempts have little chance of success and cannot solve the existing problems,” said Manfred Schoch, chairman of the Works Council.
“Thus we hope that out British colleagues will continue to work together with us in solidarity in a united Europe. Only then can we be successful.”
David Cameron is expected to make a visit to a BMW plant today to back up the message.
But Vote Leave has rejected the warnings, arguing that Brexit would actually boost the UK’s car industry and pointing out that many manufacturers wanted Britain to join the euro.
“We know that British car exports are increasingly going to the rest of the world, not the EU,” said the Brexit group’s chief executive Matthew Elliott.
“As such, a vote to leave could provide a boost to the industry as we would be free to sign free trade agreements with emerging markets - something we are currently forbidden from doing by the EU."
EX-TOP GEAR STARS
Elsewhere in the motoring world, the former stars of Top Gear have issued a video message urging voters to back Remain on Thursday.
Jeremy Clarkson and James May, who are making a new show called The Grand Tour, argued leaving the EU would make it harder to film abroad.
Mr Clarkson, who is a close friend of the Prime Minister and who left the BBC last year after punching a producer over a hospitality issue, says:
"if we weren’t in Europe we’d have to get a carnet made every single time we wanted to go to one of these [EU] countries and that would take well, a hundred years."
Watch the video here: