Toyota says no-deal Brexit could temporarily shut factory

A worker assembles a door for a Toyota Motor Corp. vehicle on the production line in Burnaston. (Bloomberg pic)

LONDON: Toyota Motor Corp. anticipates halting production at its Midlands UK factory in the event Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, plant managing director Marvin Cooke told the BBC.

The Japanese company operates the Burnaston car plant that produced 150,000 vehicles last year, with about 90% of the units shipped to the EU, while components come the other way, the BBC reported. The factory has 2,500 employees, the company said on its website.

“My view is that if Britain crashes out of the EU at the end of March, we will see production stops in our factory,” Cooke, head of the plant that makes the Auris and Avensis cars, said in an interview with the BBC posted on its website. “It could be hours, days, weeks — even months.”

UK businesses are getting increasingly skittish about the prospects a no-deal Brexit, with less than 200 days until the country is set to leave. Manufacturers from Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA to BMW AG have warned about production disruptions if the UK leaves without an agreement. The British Chambers of Commerce warned Friday that most businesses have yet to carry out a risk assessment on the impact of Brexit.

Toyota’s warning comes as the ruling Conservative party’s annual conference is about to start. The party fault-line on how best to deliver Brexit was further highlighted yesterday when former foreign secretary Boris Johnson set out his own Brexit plan while rubbishing Prime Minister Theresa May’s own vision.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposal was rejected by European leaders earlier this month, forcing her to come up with a new Brexit plan that both the EU and the warring factions in her party can accept.