STUTTGART -- Volkswagen Group has increased stockpiles of cars in Britain as politicians struggle to agree on the terms of the country's departure from the European Union ahead of an Oct. 31 deadline.
The potential for a disorderly "no-deal" Brexit and concerns about future trading relations, are forcing companies to take measures to mitigate the impact of potential tariffs.
"We have optimized inventory levels upwards to delay the impact of potential import tariffs for a while, but there are limits to what can be done," VW brand sales and marketing chief Juergen Stackmann, told Reuters.
"If there are tariffs, we will not be able to absorb them or compensate the cost. We need to be realistic about the fact that cars would get more expensive for customers." he said.
VW was the UK's second best-selling brand in the first nine months with sales of 157,040, down 0.5 percent, behind Ford at No. 1 with 188,124 sales, down 9 percent, according to industry association SMMT. Total UK new-car registrations were down 2.5 percent to 1.86 million during the period.