LONDON (AP) — The world's fourth-biggest carmaker by sales has warned of a potential existential threat to large parts of the British car industry unless the government moves to alter the terms of its Brexit trade deal with the European Union.
In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the supply of batteries for electric vehicles released Wednesday, the parent company of Citroen, Fiat, Peugeot and Vauxhall said it may not be able to keep its commitment to manufacture its new fleet of cars in the U.K. without changes to the terms of the deal.
Stellantis said the deal represented a “threat" to its export business and the "sustainability" of its manufacturing operations. The company employs 5,000 people in the U.K. and committed to make electric vehicles in the country two years ago.
The stark warning is likely to pile pressure on the Conservative government to seek changes to the trade deal that came into force at the start of 2021 when the U.K. formally left the economic structures of the EU, including the frictionless single market and customs union. Executives from Stellantis are due to meet with Britain's business secretary, Kemi Badenoch, on Wednesday.
Though the trade deal ensured that tariffs would not be slapped on the export of goods from the U.K. to the EU, an array of often-complex non-tariff barriers has made it more difficult, and often more costly, for British businesses to sell their wares in the 27-nation bloc. Some of these barriers are being phased in over time.