1. ITV Report

North West car industry: Staying in EU best for jobs

Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port Photo: PA

North West motor industry says that staying in the European Union is best for its business and best for British jobs, just days ahead of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.

The North |West has three major motor manufactures: the Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port, Jaguar at Halewood and Bentley at Cheshire.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which represents the UK automotive industry, wants to ensure there is absolute clarity on the sector’s position given recent misrepresentations in the Europe debate.

The industry is a huge employer, supporting 800,000 jobs across the UK and contributing £15.5 billion annually to the economy. 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.

Before the start of the campaigning period, SMMT commissioned a survey of its members – which includescar and commercial vehicle manufacturers, parts suppliers, aftermarket companies and other companies large and small. An overwhelming majority of 77% firms surveyed said remaining in Europe would be the best for their business, with only a minority 9% saying leaving would be best. Notably no large company said that an exit would be in their business’ best interests.

Ken Gregor, Chief Financial Officer of Jaguar Land Rover, said

Remaining in the EU – our largest market– will increase Jaguar Land Rover's chances to grow, create jobs and attract investment in future technologies. Our European supply chain has been fundamental in helping us to meet customer expectations worldwide and achieve sustainable, profitable growth.

– Ken Gregor, Chief Financial Officer of Jaguar Land Rover

Rory Harvey, Managing Director and Chairman of Vauxhall, said:

We are part of a fully integrated European company where we benefit from the free movement of goods and people. We believe not to be part of the EU would be undesirable for our business and the sector as a whole.

– Rory Harvey, Managing Director and Chairman of Vauxhall