Why a no-deal Brexit threatens thousands of car repair firms
Experts say up to 1,000 companies could close within two weeks of UK quitting EU without agreement
Thousands of car repair centres might be forced to close their doors if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal, according to business leaders.
Leaked notes from a meeting between 17 industry figures last month describe the “dire” consequences that privately run companies might face within weeks of Britain crashing out with no agreement, Business Insider reports.
The UK has around 3,000 vehicle repair centres, which together employ around 35,000 people, according to Auto Express.
The industry “relies heavily” on immediate deliveries of car parts, but this system could be “crippled by new, longer border checks”, the motoring magazine says.
“If the import delays were prolonged, three to four weeks for example without parts availability, the consequences to our car body repairers could be dire,” the leaked document warns.
By the third week, the majority of repair firms would have “run out of cash and face closure”, while the fourth week could see even “repairers with strong balance sheets” struggling to stay open, the record continues.
A speedy turnaround is critical for repair firms to “keep cash flow going” and ensure customers can get a courtesy car if required, notes Metro.
The newspaper adds that repair firms which did survive a no-deal Brexit might bump up their prices to make up for the associated losses.
Stevel Field, managing director at Page Automotive Accident Repair Group, told Business Insider that the first two weeks following a no-deal Brexit will be the most difficult period for the industry, with around 1,000 repair centres expected to close.
“If we cannot receive parts, we cannot repair cars. If we can’t repair cars, we can’t maintain our cash flow. If we don’t have cash coming in, we can’t meet expenses going out of the business,” he said.
Responding to the report, a Government spokesperson told the news site that it is “accelerating no deal preparations to ensure the country is ready for every eventuality”.
“It remains our priority to deliver a deal that will protect UK jobs and prosperity and provide certainty for businesses as we leave the EU,” the spokesperson said.