Members of the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) overwhelmingly support to remain in the EU. The results of a recent survey have indicated that 92% believe the best result for the North East Automotive sector would be to remain in the UK and 91% believe that exiting the EU would have a negative impact on Foreign Direct Investment.
Paul Butler, CEO of the NEAA stated “it is no surprise that our members have been so supportive of remaining in the EU. Our sector operates on a global scale, nearly 80% of all vehicles produced in the UK are exported and the EU accounting for 57.5% of those exports. Our supply chains are also global and whilst we are increasing the level of UK content in our vehicles the fact is we still currently import 58% of our components.”
Mr Butler continues “the UK automotive sector has been enjoying a significant renaissance period with £15bn being invested into the UK since 2012; and in 2018 we are set to produce over 2million vehicles – a record production level for the UK. As we look to increase the level of UK content in our vehicles we do need to attract more foreign direct investment, however our members have indicated that exiting the EU would be a significant threat to these investments”.
The importance of the regions automotive sector cannot be underestimated. There are 240 automotive companies based in the North East and they account for:
- 1/3rd of all cars produced in the UK
- 26% of all EV production across Europe
- £10.5bn of GDP for the NE
- 30,000 direct employees and impacting a further 141,000 jobs across the UK
- 46 regional investments totalling more than £1.6bn in past 5 years
Mike Matthews, MBE, Managing Director and European Operations Officer at the Stockton-based car parts manufacturer Nifco UK and Vice Chair of the NEAA stated “it is vital that freedom to trade remained as unencumbered as possible to ensure the survival, and growth, of the UK’s exporting businesses. We have a level playing field with our European competitors as part of the EU – we can sell products across borders easily and we can win overseas business.”