Bentley will have to fight to make next cars in post-Brexit UK
Bentley Motors believes it can maintain its presence in the UK and avoid further job cuts in the event of a no-deal Brexit, but making future products at home will be harder to justify.
The luxury-car manufacturer must make production decisions with its parent, Volkswagen AG, which has facilities all over Europe, Adrian Hallmark, Bentley’s chief executive officer, told Bloomberg Television. Bentley models made now in Crewe, England will continue to be built there, but future programs could go elsewhere.
“Every time we launch a product -- even though we’re a 100-year-old company based in Crewe for over 80 years -- we have to fight to keep the products in Crewe," the CEO said. “And our competitiveness, our flexibility in terms of cost structure and our relationship with our colleagues and workforce, these are key factors."
While Bentley announced plans in June to cut 1,000 jobs in the UK, Hallmark said there’s no immediate risk of further reductions to the workforce if UK and European Union negotiators fail to reach a trade agreement before the Brexit transition period ends on Dec. 31.
The carmaker has stocked up on components to create a buffer against possible disruption at ports and will have to raise prices in the EU if taxes increase on parts and duties are put on its vehicles.
“It doesn’t risk the existence of the company, it doesn’t risk our establishment in the UK, but it does definitely dent our profitability," Hallmark said.