Ford chief issues new warning of no-deal Brexit ‘catastrophe’

The head of Ford of Europe has issued a fresh warning that a no-deal Brexit would be a “catastrophe” for the motor industry.

Chairman Steven Armstrong said the motor giant would have to look again at its manufacturing “footprint” in the UK in the event of a disorderly departure from the EU.

Giving evidence to the Commons Welsh Affairs Committee, Mr Armstrong insisted the decision last month to close the firm’s engine plant at Bridgend with the loss of 1,700 jobs was not directly linked to concerns about Brexit.

However, he said that if the firm were to face tariffs and “frictions” at the border as a result of a no-deal Brexit it would put a “significant burden” on their business.

While it would not mean the immediate closure of all the firm’s remaining facilities in the UK, it would make it “much more difficult” for them to be competitive.

“I have been very vocal publicly that a no-deal Brexit would be a catastrophe for our industry,” he said.

He added: “We have previously publicly quoted that that could be as much as a billion dollars a year in incremental costs, be it tariffs or friction at the borders.

“I have also been very clear that that would cause us to have to think about what our footprint would be moving forward.

“That doesn’t mean that we would immediately close all the facilities in the UK, but it would make it much more difficult for the facilities to be competitive.

“That is just a fact of the business I am in.”