Toyota is the latest auto giant to threaten to pull out of the UK in the event of a 'bad Brexit'

  • Japanese auto giant Toyota has warned that it could be forced to pull operations out of the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • “If the business environment becomes very difficult to operate, of course those types of decisions should be on the agenda,” Toyota’s European boss Johan van Zyl told reporters.
  • Both Nissan and Honda have already announced cutbacks in their UK operations in recent months.

Japanese auto giant Toyota has warned that it could be forced to pull operations out of the UK in the event of Britain crashing out of the European Union without a deal.

Speaking to reporters at the Geneva Motor Show, Toyota’s European boss Johan van Zyl said that while Toyota has no great desire to desert the UK, it may be forced to do so if Brexit, and particularly a so-called no-deal Brexit, makes doing business in Britain particularly “difficult.”

“If the business environment becomes very difficult to operate, of course those types of decisions should be on the agenda,” van Zyl told reporters, according to a report from Bloomberg. “But hopefully, we will be able to avoid.”

“If there is a bad Brexit, we will need to look at future investments,” he added.

Toyota currently manufactures around 180,000 vehicles annually in the UK at its plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire, having committed to investing £240 million ($US316 million) into the country back in 2017. The Burnaston plant is responsible for manufacturing the Corolla, a mid-sized hatchback.

Any decisions on future investment in the UK from Toyota, Bloomberg reported, are set to be made at some point before 2023, when the current Corolla reaches the end of its life cycle.


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Van Zyl’s warning comes less than a month after fellow Japanese auto giant Honda said that it will be closing a major UK manufacturing plant, costing as many as 3,500 jobs.

The decision, which will see the plant in the English town of Swindon close in 2021, was widely cited as an example of the negative impact Brexit is having on UK industry, although Honda insisted that the decision to close the plant was entirely unrelated to Brexit.

Nissan, another Japanese auto producer is also scaling back operations in the UK, saying in January that it will no longer manufacture its X-Trail vehicle at its Sunderland plant.

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