Politics

Bentley May Have To Stop Being British Because Of Brexit

Hey, it's already owned by the Germans.

We knew that Britain's decision to leave the EU, aka Brexit, would have a profound effect on the auto industry. For example, Bentley has already been impacted by delaying its awesome GT car, the EXP10 Speed 6. Part of the hold up is based on Bentley's hesitance to keep building cars in the UK, where large tariffs could be implemented if legislators can't strike a deal to stay in a single market. Reuters reports that Bentley may be preparing for a future where its models won't be built in the UK. If so, would Bentley even be British anymore?

“It's the Britishness that makes us very unique but we know from different car brands that this business is a very international one and before we would not produce any Bentleys anymore, we would produce them somewhere else,” Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer stated last week at Geneva. Dürheimer has laid out the worst case scenario in which the UK could not reach a deal with the EU. "I have about nine to 12 months where I can wait and see what's going to happen and then I need to take serious decisions. It's all connected to future models," Dürheimer added. If a deal isn't worked out, Bentley would likely shift its production to mainland Europe in order to avoid possible tariffs.

Other car companies are also contemplating what Brexit will mean for UK auto production. Interestingly, Brexit could end up helping the French PSA group, which recently purchased Opel and Vauxhall from GM. Peugeot could make its cars in the Vauxhall plant to avoid UK tariffs and utilize Opel's European plants to supply cars for the rest of the European market. If the UK doesn't reach a deal with Europe, we could see a bunch of automakers flee to continental Europe. Bentley is already owned by the Volkswagen Group, so if the cars aren't built in Britain anymore, wouldn't that just make them German?

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