March 12, 2019 / 7:36 AM / 8 days ago

VW CEO hopeful a Brexit deal will be reached

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess addresses a news conference in Berlin, Germany February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

WOLFSBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Volkswagen’s Chief Executive Herbert Diess said he still believed that Britain and the European Union would strike an agreement to prevent a chaotic breakup of the European Union as Prime Minister Theresa May faces a crucial vote at home.

“We assume that some sort of agreement will be reached to prevent a no-deal Brexit from happening,” Herbert Diess said at the company’s annual results press conference in Wolfsburg, Germany on Tuesday.

“A no-deal would hurt us,” Diess said, explaining that Britain is an important export market for Volkswagen Group’s VW, Audi, Skoda and Porsche brands, while VW’s Britain-based Bentley brand also depended on access to the EU markets.

British Prime Minister Theresa May won legally binding Brexit assurances from the EU on Monday in a last ditch attempt to sway rebellious British lawmakers who have threatened to vote down her divorce deal again.

Asked in an interview with German broadcaster n-tv whether Volkswagen would relocate production if there was a hard Brexit, Diess said that would not be possible on a larger scale in the short term.

He added it might be necessary to make small adjustments to deliveries of bodyshells to Britain though.

“But the threat would rather kick in if Bentley were to lose big markets due to isolation,” Diess said, adding it would then perhaps be necessary to plan new investments in other countries.

Reporting by Edward Taylor and Michelle Martin; Editing by Tassilo Hummel and David Evans

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