UK car sector warns of £70m daily cost on Brexit no-deal

London (AFP) –


A no-deal Brexit could cost UK-based carmakers up to £70 million ($89 million, 78 million euros) daily through delays to production, the country's auto sector warned Tuesday.

The industry, featuring a number of foreign carmakers including Ford, Honda and Nissan, could be hit to the tune of £50,000 a minute in a worst-case scenario, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders estimated in an industry report.

"Automotive matters to UK trade and to the economy, and... if the right choices are made, a bright future is possible," SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said in a speech to the industry body's annual conference in London.

"However, no-deal remains the clear and present danger. We are already seeing the consequences of uncertainty, the fear of no-deal."

Hawes added: "The next PM's first job in office must be to secure a deal that maintains frictionless trade because, for our industry, no-deal is not an option and we don't have the luxury of time."

Former foreign minister Boris Johnson and his successor Jeremy Hunt are battling to replace Theresa May as prime minister and leader of the ruling Conservatives after she failed to get her Brexit deal through the UK parliament.

Favourite Johnson insists that the UK could exit the EU on the new October 31 deadline without a deal being struck with Brussels.

Hunt has said he is also willing to accept a "no deal" departure but is prepared to delay Brexit briefly if negotiations look like they might produce a compromise.

Both men are however hoping to renegotiate the divorce deal May struck with the EU last year.