Aston Martin has warned it could have to halt production of all its cars if Theresa May fails to secure a Brexit deal.
The high-end car manufacturer which makes all its vehicles in the UK told the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee on Tuesday that leaving the EU without a trade deal would be “semi-catastrophic”.
Every car model in the UK currently is tested by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) to make sure it is valid to be sold.
Currently VCA approved cars are able to be sold across the EU thanks to the UK’s membership.
However car manufacturers warned that in the event of a so-called ‘no-deal’ Brexit, the VCA approval would no longer be valid.
Mark Wilson, Aston Martin’s chief financial officer, told MPs this would incur “significant costs” for the company as it tried to gets its models certified for sale abroad.
“We are a British company. We produce our cars exclusively in Britain and will continue to do so. Without VCA type approval it really is a stark picture for us,” he said.
He added the result could include “the semi-catastrophic effects of having to stop production because we only produce cars in the UK”.
Tom Brake, the Lib Dem Brexit spokesman, said Aston Martin’s warning showed the car industry could be brought to a “standstill” by a no deal Brexit.
“People’s jobs are on the line, but still the hard Brexiteers are peddling the fantasy that we could crash out of Europe with no deal,” he said.
“Every day of government complacency brings us closer to a catastrophic Brexit that would destroy jobs, push up prices and damage living standards. The government must stop being so complacent and protect British businesses by ruling out no deal.”
Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders, also warned the cost per vehicle of having no Brexit deal could be as much as £1,800.
If Britain and the EU fails to agree a new trade deal then tariffs could be imposed on imports of the components needed to build cars in the UK and on British built cars being sold in the EU.
WTO rules were “worst case” scenario for British car manufacturers, Hawes added.
The warning came as a report from the Commons Public Accounts Committee warned there would be “massive queues at Dover” with “food being left to rot in trucks at the border” if a new customs system was not in place in time for Brexit.
On Tuesday afternoon MPs began eight days of debate on the government’s EU Withdrawal Bill in the Commons.