The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says that staying in the European Union is best for its business.

It made that statement days ahead of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
‘The industry is a huge employer, supporting 800,000 jobs across the UK and contributing £15.5 billion annually to the economy,’ the SMMT said. ‘It has emerged from the recession stronger, more productive and more competitive and is now a leading global player, with exports at record levels and vehicle production at the highest level for over a decade. 

‘The industry is export led with around 80% of vehicles heading abroad and over half of those (57.5 percent) destined for the rest of the EU. Unrestricted access to the world’s largest single market, the negotiating strength of the EU to secure international trade deals, the ability to shape technical regulations and free movement of labour all provide significant benefits to UK businesses. This is why SMMT member companies large and small are overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU.’

Nigel Stein, Chief Executive of GKN plc, agreed with the organization, saying, ‘we see a real benefit in remaining in the EU. A vote to leave will not mean manufacturing investment disappears overnight, but over time a UK outside the EU will be disadvantaged and will lose the investment it needs to maintain our industries.’

In a survey of its members, which includes car and commercial vehicle manufacturers, parts suppliers, aftermarket companies and other companies, some 77% firms surveyed said remaining in Europe would be the best for their business, while 9% saying leaving would be best. 

Attract investment

‘UK Automotive is globally competitive, securing record levels of investment, creating tens of thousands of jobs annually and exporting to over 100 countries,’ said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. ‘We want this success to continue rather than jeopardise it by increasing costs, making our trading relationships uncertain and creating new barriers to our single biggest and most important market, Europe. Remaining will allow the UK to retain the influence on which the unique and successful UK automotive sector depends.’

‘Remaining in the EU – our largest market– will increase Jaguar Land Rover's chances to grow, create jobs and attract investment in future technologies,’ added Ken Gregor, chief financial officer of Jaguar Land Rover, while Tony Walker, deputy managing director, Toyota, said, ‘after considered review, we believe that continued membership of the European Union is best for our business and for our competitiveness in the longer term.’

There were also pro-remain comments from BMW, Vauxhall and Magal Engineering.

This story is reprinted from material from the SMMT, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.