BERLIN -- A month before Britain is due to quit the European Union, the bloc's automakers have warned of billions of euros in losses in the event of a no-deal Brexit -- with production stoppages costing 50,000 pounds ($62,355) a minute in Britain alone.
Britain is scheduled to quit the EU on Oct. 31 but businesses have grown increasingly concerned at Prime Minister Boris Johnson's apparent lack of progress towards a new withdrawal deal to replace the proposals of his predecessor Theresa May, which the British parliament rejected three times.
In a statement, groups including the European automakers association ACEA, the European suppliers body CLEPA and 17 national groups warned of the impact of "no-deal" on an industry which employs 13.8 million people in the EU, including the UK, or 6.1 percent of the workforce.
"The UK's departure from the EU without a deal would trigger a seismic shift in trading conditions, with billions of euros of tariffs threatening to impact consumer choice and affordability on both sides of the Channel," they wrote in Monday's statement.
"The end of barrier-free trade could bring harmful disruption to the industry's just-in-time operating model, with the cost of just one minute of production stoppage in the UK alone amounting to 54,700 euros (£50,000)," the statement said.
Without a deal, Britain would quit the EU's 500 million-strong single market and customs union overnight, falling back on World Trade Organization rules, which could mean many import and export tariffs. There would be no transition.
Automakers, the country's biggest exporter of goods, have been one of the most vocal opponents of a no-deal Brexit, warning that production would be hit with tariffs, border delays and new bureaucracy, ruining the viability of many plants.
The automotive groups warned that the necessary tariffs will add 5.7 billion euros to the EU-Britain car trade bill.
The European auto industry is dependent on heavily integrated cross-border supply chains, which rely for their effectiveness on a zero-tariff, almost border-free environment within the EU's custom union.
Britain's car industry, which is almost entirely foreign-owned, is exceptionally vulnerable, as it is dominated by factories owned by German, French and Japanese automakers