LONDON, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Jaguar Land Rover will “realign its thinking” on investment after Britain’s vote to leave the EU and if Nissan gets a Brexit compensation deal then other automakers would need a level playing field, Britain’s biggest carmaker said.
Chief Executive Ralf Speth told Reuters on Friday that there had been signs that some customers in Europe, Jaguar Land Rover’s biggest market, no longer wanted to buy British cars after the Brexit vote.
When asked about remarks by the chief executive of Nissan , who said on Thursday that he would halt new investment in Britain without a pledge of compensation for tariffs imposed on UK-built cars in the event of a ‘hard Brexit’, Speth said:
“We are the only car manufacturer in the UK to do all the work in terms of research, design, engineering, production planning in the UK.”
“We want to have fair treatment and a level playing field at the end of the day,” Speth told Reuters by telephone from the Paris auto show.
Speth said the firm, which built one third of Britain’s 1.6 million cars last year, would face a double hit in the event of ‘hard Brexit’ with tariffs on exported cars and imported parts and technology from within the bloc hurting competitiveness.
He told Reuters that the company’s long-term strategy on investment had not changed but the firm would now have to think again after Britons backed leaving the European Union on June 23.
However, Speth left open the possibility of new investment such as an electric battery and car plant in Britain if the conditions, including pilot testing and support from science, were right.
“The best thing would be to have something in the UK... If you are producing batteries there then you will also produce vehicles there,” he said. (Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)