Brexit: Toyota boss no deal would make it ‘complicated’ to build cars in UK

A senior executive at Toyota has warned that a no-deal Brexit would make it “extremely complicated” for the Japanese car giant to build new models in the UK.

Toyota have said they would find it 'extremely complicated' to build new cars in the UK under a no-deal Brexit. Picture: Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images

Didier Leroy, chairman of Toyota’s European operations, said a no-deal outcome to EU withdrawal talks would be “terrible” and would create “big additional challenges” to UK operations’ competitiveness.

His comments come after Honda announced that it is closing its plant in Swindon and Nissan ditched plans to produce the X-Trail SUV in Sunderland, though both companies said the decisions were driven by factors other than Brexit.

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Toyota started production of its new hybrid-powered Corolla model at its plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire, in January.

Mr Leroy told the Financial Times that the £240 million investment in the model was made on “significant trust in the UK that they would be able to achieve a good deal in Europe”.

He stressed Toyota had “no plan today to withdraw from the UK and stop production”.

But he added: “If we don’t have access to the European market without a specific border tax, it seems to be extremely complicated to think about ... introduction of another model.”

Mr Leroy told the FT: “No-deal is terrible. It will create big additional challenges to keep competitiveness.”

He said Parliament had “to decide what’s best for employment” when voting next week on whether to leave without a deal, urging MPs: “Don’t create a huge mountain.”

Responding to Mr Leroy’s comments, Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi, a supporter of the Best For Britain campaign for a second EU referendum, said: “This is yet more proof that a no-deal Brexit would put Britain in the slow lane.

“Honda is leaving Swindon, Nissan won’t be building its new X-Trail car, and now Toyota has put on its warning lights. This is very worrying, and strengthens the case for a public vote with the option to stay in the EU.”