Our Poll: British Motor Companies Say Yes to EU, what is your view?

mini-2011-3A report released last month by the  Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) has suggested that the British motor industry, almost unanimously, wants the UK to remain in the EU.

The report states that 92% of car manufacturers in the UK want to stay in the EU and only 3% want to leave. My maths is not great but this suggest that there is also 5% that don’t give a damn. Anyway, in addition, 70% said that leaving the EU would have a negative or very negative impact on their business.

As the vast majority of the UK motor industry is foreign owned the net result of this report should likely be read as a warning from industry that any change to the current status quo is going to force them to reconsider their options in the region.  I recall an interview with the head of Nissan late last year who basically said just that.

With over  third of all vehicles built in the UK sold in Europe and many parts being imported from the continent, there are the obvious economic  reasons why the motor industry is keen to continue benefiting from the tax advantages of the UK being part of the EU.  In an article on the subject in the Huffington post Vince Cable is not sitting on the fence on the subject, by stating “No one can plausibly be in favour of the rebalancing the British economy, boosting exports and supporting sustainable growth while being in favour of leaving the EU.”

Does this news influence your opinions over the UK’s future in Europe? Let us know what you think… because quite frankly we are torn!

Should Britain stay in the EU to protect existing manufacturing?

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Take a second to enter our poll or be more verbal by adding a comment below (keep it clean though).


  1. The automotive manufacturers should check out the ONS stats on their industry over the last 10 years. EU auto imports have rocketed, while EU exports have flatlined. However, non-EU exports have gone through the roof (non-EU imports are about the same)… the auto industry is booming – because of non-EU exports.

    The EU only works for France and Germany – and they don’t buy our stuff (Jaguar XF being European car of the year many years in a row, and you wont find many in Europe)

    What’s the worst that can happen? We have a £55bn trade deficit with the EU – If we leave the EU, what? They will refuse to sell us their stuff..? That’s a great opportunity for British companies…

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    • In the EU, even as a part time member wanting a marriage without vows, every business which deals within mainland Europe, benefits from zero rate VAT on purchase. loosing this would mean NOT being able to re claim VAT (IVA) on purchases and also then having to charge English 20% VAT on top! Result our VAT would double. Outside the Euro Zone, Banks make about 3 to 5% charges on all transaction within European trade, thats a lot of money considering all the trade involved, even without the amounts on private people on leisure holidays. Why are we wanting to ask people who have no idea about any of the real details to make a decision which will affect every one in Europe?

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      • British companies do not reclaim VAT/IVA on imports from other EU countries; it is not charged in the first place. And the same applies in reverse – British companies do not charge VAT on sales to companies in other EU countries.

        If our imports become dearer that’s good – we might buy some more of our own stuff. Yes, our exports may suffer if we have to add VAT, but they are far less in value than imports.

        As for your last sentence – it’s called democracy!

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        • Agreed, but they still need to be properly informed of all the correct facts, not the “Sitting on the fence” approach we have now, or the “Pub Talk” with a fantasy Island idea.

          Probably an extra 20% on top of the cost a quality German and other European Car manufacturers, who still design and build cars would not please many people.

          Regarding VAT/IVA tax, effectively it is charged and reclaimed at the same time on VAT returns ! Buying from isolated Switzerland is a totally different situation.

          I am open to realistic reasons why we would not be better off with one common currency, all our prices have levelled out over the last ten years, so the cost of a coffee is almost the same everywhere in Europe, apart from us who have to pay charges or exchange rates on top. The whole cost of living in small supermarkets there is very similar to our American supermarket Asda.

          Looking forward to real answers to problems that are real for everyone in Europe to start working together for a better future for all of us, instead against each other for isolation. History reminds us that was always a very bad idea.

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  2. Darren Woodiwiss says

    Is this poll confusing the being a “Full member” of the EU and the “Trading partner” status which the common market was originally. My understanding is that leaving the EU and remaining a trading partner would not affect trading with mainland Europe???

    Another case of the phrasing of the question influences the answer!

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    • We have tried to be quite careful in not leading the poll with our own agenda… the fact being that we are in that comfortable gray area of not knowing what our agenda is makes this quite easy. The Lib-Dems, along with Vince Cable, seem to be using these figures as a means of highlighting their pro-EU stance, suggesting some sort of calamity ahead. My understanding is that if we leave the EU as a full member we would need to renegotiate our trade agreements, the outcome of which cannot be guaranteed. So, the point is valid – the suggestion from industry is that leaving the EU would jeopardise foreign investment in the UK automotive industry. The question is do we, or should we, care? Is freedom from Europe worth the risk? We are genuinely sitting on the fence on this one!

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  3. The EU need us more than we need them. World wide free trade offers better opportunities for this country.

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  4. As the European election approaches the pro-EU and the anti-UKIP propaganda increases.

    Foreign owned car companies will of course be pro-EU as they see profits coming from EU sales. But I am interested how this affects the British citizen, not the foreign investor.

    Pumping £55m taxpayers’ money a day into the EU to get half back (mainly as loans) whilst they buy far less of our goods than we buy from them doesn’t seem a good deal to me. That’s why I’ll be voting for Nigel.

    In any event, I have always been doubtful about the wisdom of encouraging inward investment. I would be much happier owning vast tracts of Japan and Saudi Arabia for example, than them owning chunks of UK industry and property. Let’s use their workforces and bring the profits to Britain rather than allow them to use our workers and take the profits abroad.

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  5. Yes , freedom from Europe is worth the risk ! .Enough of being dictated to.If we leave.. just watch the other European countries lining up to leave with us….Britain is leading the way to grow & if there are any gaps, as Bob said That’s a great opportunity for British companies.Exciting times ahead.

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