Carmaker Jaguar says ‘bad Brexit’ would mean it could not stay in UK

EDINBURGH (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover said on Wednesday a so-called “hard Brexit” would cost it 1.2 billion pounds a year, curtailing its future operations in the United Kingdom.

The logo of Jaguar is seen during the 88th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland, March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy

“We urgently need greater certainty to continue to invest heavily in the UK and safeguard our suppliers, customers and 40,000 British-based employees,” JLR’s Chief Executive Ralf Speth said in a statement.

A worker walks between rows of Jaguar and Land Rover cars as they wait to be shipped from Peel Ports container terminal in Liverpool, Britain December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Speth’s comments come ahead of a meeting this Friday between Prime Minister Theresa May and her cabinet ministers to decide on strategy for Britain to negotiate its way out of the European Union, ending a 40-year trading relationship.

Because of uncertainty about what Britain actually wants from the EU after it leaves, the outcome of the cabinet meeting is seen as critical to progress in talks with the EU on the issue.

Recent weeks have seen criticism of the government by some of the biggest companies operating in Britain.

Airbus (AIR.PA) and Siemens (SIEM.NS) last week went public with their fears about what leaving the EU customs union and single market would mean for their business. [L8N1TN6U6]

JLR has joined the fray, saying the group needed “free and frictionless trade with the EU and unrestricted access to the single market.”

“A bad Brexit deal would cost Jaguar Land Rover more than 1.2 billion pounds in profit each year. As a result, we would have to drastically adjust our spending profile; we have spent around 50 billion pounds in the UK in the past five years – with plans for a further 80 billion pounds more in the next five,” Speth said in a statement.

“This would be in jeopardy should we be faced with the wrong outcome.”

Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary, editing by G Crosse

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