Brexit, the UK’s intention to leave the EU, has dominated the media for the last couple of years, and much talk has been made of how certain outcomes may affect industry in this country. The UK automobile industry may no longer be the big player it once was, with many marques now owned by foreign companies, but there are still some major brands that construct cars and vehicles here, notably in the luxury car sector.
Aston Martin is one such, and has undergone something of a resurgence in recent years with a number of very popular, top quality GT’s and supercars, plus the upcoming DBX SUV, to be built at the new Aston Martin hi-tech factor at St Athan, in Wales. Speaking at an event presenting the company’s latest financial results, Aston Martin Chief Executive, Andy Palmer, talked about the impact a ‘no deal’ Brexit outcome – which is now considered likely – would have on manufacturing.
Flying Parts In
Palmer explained that Aston Martin has already increased its stock of parts to cover five days, rather than the usual three. Gearboxes, for example, are produced in Germany and brought in by road, while almost 4,000 other parts essential to the manufacturing programme are also imported. He commented that having ‘car parts sat on the motorway around Dover or Calais’ would be unacceptable, anticipating the problems of importing through the UK’s busiest port after a Brexit no deal.
As a result, Aston Martin is considering alternative plans such as switching its supply ports from Dover to Cardiff, Southampton or Sunderland, and may even be forced to fly in parts should things take a turn for the worse. It is notably that other luxury car manufacturers in the UK, such as Bentley, have also begun stockpiling parts in advance of next year’s Brexit outcome.
Aston Martin presented its first figures since floating on the stock market in October, with sales of 1,776 cars in the three months up to September. This is double the amount sold in the same period last year, and some 490 of those cars were UK sales. The USA now represents the company’s biggest market, although growth in China is very high indeed.