Honda says any Brexit delay must be long enough to give stability
* BMW still preparing for worst-case no-deal Brexit
* UK lawmakers back delay
* Honda says Brexit extension must be "purposeful"
* Ford: delay should last long enough to secure frictionless
By Costas Pitas
LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - Japanese carmaker Honda said
any delay to Brexit must be long enough to give businesses
stability whilst BMW is still preparing for a "worst-case
scenario" no-deal Brexit after lawmakers backed postponing
Britain's exit from the EU.
The country's car sector, which employs more than 850,000
people, has quickly gone from a manufacturing success story to
posting drops in investment, sales and output.
Honda, which builds just over 10 percent of Britain's 1.5
million cars, announced earlier this year that it would close
its factory, in the biggest blow to the sector in many years,
but said the decision was not due to Brexit.
Adding to uncertainty for companies, British lawmakers voted
overwhelmingly on Thursday to seek a delay to Brexit, which had
been due on March 29.
"We are now looking to the government to deliver a clear,
legally certain, path forward to avoid no deal," said a Honda
"Any extension ... must be purposeful and long enough to
give business stability."
Ford, which builds nearly 1.3 million engines in Britain,
said any extension "must allow for however long it takes to
secure a deal that guarantees the principles of tariff-free and
Since Britain voted in June 2016 to leave the European
Union, companies have been triggering a series of contingency
plans to help prepare for any loss of free and unfettered trade
with the car industry's biggest export market.
Honda, BMW's Mini and Rolls-Royce brands
and Jaguar Land Rover - together accounting for around
55 percent of UK car output - all plan to shut their factories
in April from between a week to up to a month in case of any
disruption from a no-deal Brexit.
A delay would ruin such plans as shutdowns are generally
organised months in advance so employee holidays can be
scheduled and suppliers can adjust volumes.
BMW, which builds over 15 percent of Britain's car output at
its Mini and Rolls-Royce factories alongside more than 375,000
engines at its central English Hams Hall facility, said it was
continuing to ready itself in case of a no-deal Brexit or delay.
"Preparations cover all key areas of our business including
manufacturing, sales ... customs processes, IT and logistics,"
the firm said.
Earlier this month BMW said it could move some output out of
Britain if the country does not secure an orderly departure from
the European Union, and again called for clarity on Friday.
"The BMW Group therefore continues to appeal to all sides to
achieve long-term planning security, maintaining the
frictionless free-trade on which our production and sales
operations are based."
(Reporting by Costas Pitas
Editing by Andrew MacAskill and Giles Elgood)
First Published: 2019-03-15 12:35:01
Updated 2019-03-15 18:17:31
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