JLR warns that a bad Brexit threatens investment and UK plants

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Jaguar Land Rover chief executive Dr Ralf Speth has said the manufacturer will have to shift investment and close plants in the UK if the Brexit deal isn’t right.

His comments follow warnings from Airbus, BMW and others about the potential adverse impact of a Brexit deal that makes international trade slower or less certain.

JLR employs 40,000 people in the UK and has sites across the West Midlands at Gaydon, Whitley, Castle Bromwich, Solihull, Wolverhampton and Ryton-on-Dunsmore, as well as Halewood in Merseyside.

Speth, in comments first reported by the Financial Times, confirmed the company “wants to stay in the UK” and that he didn’t want to “threaten anybody”.

“If I’m forced to go out because we don’t have the right deal, then we have to close plants here in the UK and it will be very, very sad. This is hypothetical, and I hope it’s an option we never have to go for,” said Speth.

He added the manufacturer had spent around £50bn in the UK in the past five years and has plans to invest an additional £80bn in the next five years.

“We have to decide whether we bring additional vehicles, and electric vehicles with new technology with batteries and motors into the UK. We have other options,” said Speth.

“If I do it here and Brexit goes in the wrong direction, then what is going to happen to the company?”

JLR has moved production of its Discovery Sport to its new factory in Slovakia and is making plans to invest billions of pounds in its next cycle as it accelerates the move to hybrid and electric vehicles.

Speth added: “Nobody asks for a deal that at the end of the day increases bureaucracy, and reduces the productivity and competitiveness of the UK industry.”