WOLFSBURG -- Volkswagen said British Prime Minister Theresa May's failure to secure backing for a European Union divorce deal may result in price increases for VW customers in Britain if tariffs are introduced for imported vehicles.
British lawmakers on Tuesday rejected May's proposed European Union divorce deal for the second time, thrusting Britain deeper into crisis and forcing parliament to decide whether to back a no-deal Brexit or seek a last-minute delay.
"Yesterday evening was a disappointment for all Europeans. We are continually monitoring the situation and should it come to pass, we need to discuss price increases," Volkswagen's chief operating officer, Ralf Brandstaetter, said at a press conference here.
The cost of tariffs for imported cars may have to be passed on to customers, Brandstaetter said.
A leading German business lobby said Brexit-related uncertainty is "devastating" the UK's economic relations with European partners and many buyers of British goods are actively looking for alternative sources of supply, according to a leading German business lobby.
German companies currently will not sign sign long-term delivery contracts with British partners and are stocking up on goods wherever possible, Holger Bingmann, president of Germany’s BGA association of exporters and wholesalers, said in an emailed response to Bloomberg.
"There is an unbelievable amount of uncertainty, as fundamental questions on customs documentation or product registration have not been resolved,"
Bingmann said. "Even British firms are asking our members how they should deal with the situation."
As German businesses seek alternative supplies, there have been agreements, as far as possible, to buy goods from the same manufacturer but from a location that will definitely still be within the EU after March, Bingmann said.
A study published by Germany’s BDI industry lobby last week showed the key auto sector is most affected by Brexit uncertainty and companies are reining in investment as a result. A quarter of German companies plan to cut jobs if Britain is unable to secure an exit deal, with the autos, banking and consumer goods sectors most severely affected.
Bloomberg contributed to this report