Ford Threatens to Pull Out of the United Kingdom

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ford threatens to pull out of the united kingdom

Ford Motor Company has reportedly informed British Prime Minister Theresa May of its tentative plan to move out of the United Kingdom. The automaker explained the situation to May during a private call with business leaders tasked with assessing how Brexit might impact the economy. Ford said it was already preparing to move its facilities — which include two engine plants, a transmission factory, and an R&D center — abroad.

With the European Union and British government still unable to establish trade terms, automakers are having a panic attack. Ford later told Reuters that a no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for its European-based businesses, citing earlier claims that it would cost the manufacturer up to $1 billion.

While that cost involves plenty of speculation, Ford thinks the probability of higher tariffs and supply chain issues under a no-deal situation are too high to ignore. In fact, the automaker was already making contingency plans last month after May failed to receive adequate support for her negotiated deal with the EU.

“We have long urged the UK Government and Parliament to work together to avoid the country leaving the EU on a no-deal, hard Brexit basis,” Ford told Reuters on Tuesday. “We will take whatever action is necessary to preserve the competitiveness of our European business.”

Ford previously said it already planned on cutting thousands of jobs and was considering plant closures in Europe as part of its larger restructuring plan. In the absence of a no-deal Brexit, many assumed Britain would receive preferential treatment due to its status as a key market for the company. However, with no trade deal in place, it’s looking increasingly likely that a worst case scenario will come to pass. Britain exits the EU on March 29th.

Automakers know that, until a new arrangement can be made, Britain and the EU will default to World Trade Organization rules — automatically imposing a 10-percent tariff on imports and exports.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

Join the conversation
3 of 68 comments
  • Matt51 Matt51 on Feb 14, 2019

    Instead of buying more expensive food from France, the UK will purchase lower priced food from Canada, Australia and the US.

    • Richard Chen Richard Chen on Feb 14, 2019

      The EU zone allows for large and fast food deliveries from the continent to the UK. Delivery trucks roll on and off ships without customs interruptions. Orders placed can arrive in the UK on the same day. The reintroduction of customs/tariffs is anticipated to cause huge backups and short term food shortages. Importing food from the other Five Eyes countries across a longer distance than the English Channel would be a bit more difficult.

  • Matt51 Matt51 on Feb 14, 2019

    Yes, but the UK would also have lower food costs. Including produce from South America, the British standard of living will increase. French farmers will lose out.

  • Kwik_Shift Once 15 Minute Cities start to be rolled out, you won't be far enough away from home to worry about range anxiety.
  • Bobbysirhan I'd like to look at all of the numbers. The eager sheep don't seem too upset about the $1,800 delta over home charging, suggesting that the total cost is truly obscene. Even spending Biden bucks, I don't need $1,800 of them to buy enough gasoline to cover 15,000 miles a year. Aren't expensive EVs supposed to make up for their initial expense, planet raping resource requirements, and the child slaves in the cobalt mines by saving money on energy? Stupid is as stupid does.
  • Slavuta Civic EX - very competent car. I hate the fact of CVT and small turbo+DI. But it is a good car. Good rear seat. Fix the steering and keep goingBut WRX is just a different planet.
  • SPPPP This rings oh so very hollow. To me, it sounds like the powers that be at Ford don't know which end is up, and therefore had to invent a new corporate position to serve as "bad guy" for layoffs and eventual scapegoat if (when) the quality problems continue.
  • Art Vandelay Tasos eats $#!t and puffs peters