Renault planned for ‘total collapse’ of UK car market

Time 2 years ago

RENAULT UK MD Vincent Tourette has revealed it prepared for a ‘total collapse’ of the UK car market in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The fall-out would have been so severe, he said, that it would have lasted three years and been as catastrophic, if not worse, than that seen in the 2008 crash.

And while no deal now looks unlikely, he added he didn’t believe Boris Johnson’s deal was the solution to the industry’s woes either.

Tourette’s comments came just hours after MPs gave a nod to an outline Brexit deal, but decided to vote down the prime minister’s timetable to get it ratified by Parliament by October 31.

‘A deal – whatever it is – will always be better than no deal,’ he said.

‘For me there is nothing worse than no deal. In all our assumptions – and we worked on many – no deal was the black scenario. You jump from the cliff and don’t know where you land. No-one was prepared for it.

‘If we still have to face no deal, it will be terrible for many reasons.

‘Economically, the UK would suffer a lot. The car industry, taking into account tariffs and the exchange rate, would see rocketing prices on cars and a complete collapse of the market that would last three years.’

Tourette, pictured, said tumbling out of the EU would have meant overnight price rises of ‘a minimum’ of 10 per cent, supply restrictions and some car brands even pulling out of Britain altogether.

While MPs have voted to take no deal off the table, the seriousness of just what it would mean to a beleaguered car industry is scary – and while Tourette believes any deal is better than none, he says the current one won’t solve everything.

‘This deal will remove part of the uncertainty, but nothing is truly solved as the negotiations have really only just begun,’ he said.

‘The deal will mean we know in what environment we will be working. The deal will give some confidence and stability to people, but I don’t see it resulting in the market rocketing. It will more likely mean car sales stabilise next year to the level we have seen this year.

‘I don’t think we will see growth in 2020, but it will probably mean we will see today’s market conditions continue.’

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James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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