Car manufacturers are ‘paddling furiously below the water’ to keep their supply chains running, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has said.
Chief executive Mike Hawes told MPs in the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, the movement of components needed for car production has been ‘difficult’ since the end of the Brexit transition period.
He said there was a ‘pervading sense of relief’ within the motor industry an agreement between the UK and EU had been negotiated.
‘We ended up, I think, with a deal that in many ways works for the sector, most obviously in the avoidance of tariffs and quotas which would have been a severe brake on the industry,’ he said.
‘However, it doesn’t mean zero cost. The industry is trying to manage its supply chains. We are integrated within the European, if not the global, industry, so the supply chains do stretch far and wide.
‘All the industry is … I characterise it as paddling furiously below the water to keep things going.’
Hawes said the administration required to move goods in and out of the UK is ‘significant’ and a ‘major challenge’.
The sector would have benefited from a ‘longer implementation period’, he added.
‘With the Withdrawal Agreement there was supposed to be up to 21 months of implementation period.
‘We ended up with effectively seven days over the Christmas shutdown from the publication of the deal to when it took effect.
‘So it’s understandable that all businesses are struggling to understand what it is you now have to do.’
Hawes said there have been ‘a couple of stoppages’ at factories, but these were ‘primarily’ due to the global shortage of semiconductor chips.
- Join our breaking news WhatsApp group
- Listen to the latest Car Dealer Podcast
- List of the Top 100 profitable car dealers in the UK