Brexit a Risk to $327 Million of Spending by Car-Parts Suppliers

Britain leaving the European Union could jeopardize some 225 million pounds ($327 million) in planned investment among local suppliers to the automotive industry, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The total investment figure -- which spans factory expansion to new machinery and extra jobs through 2020 -- hinges on Britain’s political and economic situation staying the same, the SMMT said.

The U.K. will vote on whether to remain or leave the EU in 16 days’ time. Polls are showing a tight contest. Three polls released earlier this week showed more Britons favor quitting. Two more surveys later showed slim leads for the “Remain” camp.

The vote comes as some 2,000 local suppliers look to grab a bigger share of the U.K.’s 70 billion-pound car industry. The average British-built car is 41 percent sourced locally, up from 36 percent in 2011.

“To see automotive suppliers in such confident mood to invest is very encouraging -- but their ability to capitalise on growth opportunities will depend on the right political and economic conditions being in place,” SMMT Chief Executive Officer Mike Hawes said by e-mail.

In a survey of more than 100 SMMT members involved in supplying the auto-trade with parts, 94 percent said they planned to invest in the coming three years.

“Our members have been clear that the U.K.’s continued membership of the EU is best,” Hawes said. “We do not want to see growth opportunities undermined by uncertainty, or worse, a negative view of the U.K. as an investment destination as a result of leaving the EU.”

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