007 carmaker lashes out at prospect of no-deal Brexit

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer poses for a photograph next to the company’s new Vantage car in Gaydon November 20, 2017. — Reuters pic
Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer poses for a photograph next to the company’s new Vantage car in Gaydon November 20, 2017. — Reuters pic

LONDON, April 4 — The boss of James ’s favourite carmaker Aston Martin today said he was “pissed off” at the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

Aston Martin chief executive Andy Palmer was questioned by reporters about whether the luxury group was less exposed to a hard Brexit than the rest of the sector.

“We are less exposed but equally pissed off,” he said, prompting laughter in the press room of a conference hosted by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The UK industry organisation has long argued that a no-deal Brexit would ramp up costs and damage supply chains — while tariffs would undermine competitiveness and bite into profits.

Palmer admitted today that Aston Martin — whose cars play a starring role in the fictional British spy’s blockbuster films — was able to pass on rising costs more easily than most competitors.

“From a pricing point of view, we have more elasticity around pricing because it is a luxury good,” said Palmer.

“So, if tariffs come in place, you could argue that we have a greater ability to pass that onto the customer.

“You also have to note that because we trade and manufacture in pounds, if there is a hard Brexit then the pound will collapse — our cars get cheaper and basically we can compensate for the tariffs.

“On the other hand, Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc, are importing into the UK — which is our second biggest market after the US — and they are less competitive than (carmakers in) the UK.”

But he continued: “The bigger deal is around importation of parts. A substantial part of that comes from the European Union.

“You can’t make cars on a just-in-time basis if you haven’t any bits — and getting your bits through Dover/Calais, particularly at the start of a no-deal Brexit, is of concern.”

Palmer noted that the group has already launched its contingency plans for a hard Brexit.

“We think we have done everything that we can to preserve those supply chains,” he said.

“We’ve increased stock. We’ve changed our supply channels. We are already getting parts through different ports.

He added: “We have now increased our UK content beyond 55 per cent.”

Palmer meanwhile lamented that Britain’s departure from the EU would be “unwelcome”.

“All of this is unwelcome. We are absolutely behind the principles of free trade all over the world.

“But in terms of: are we ready for a no-deal Brexit? I think we are as ready as one can be.”

Separately, industry data showed today that UK new car sales slid last month, hit by Brexit uncertainty and waning demand for high-polluting diesel models.

New registrations for all cars sank 3.4 per cent in March year-on-year to just over 458,000 vehicles, the SMMT data revealed. — AFP

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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