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Brexit: Citroen, BMW and Aston Martin call for an end to the uncertainty

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Citroen CEO Linda Jackson
Citroen CEO Linda Jackson
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Europe's carmakers have called for an end to the uncertainty as Brexit heads down to the wire.

Senior figures at Citroen, BMW and Aston Martin spoke to Euronews about the impact the UK’s decision to quit the European Union is having upon their businesses.

London has agreed on a divorce deal with Brussels but Prime Minister Theresa May has so far failed to get a majority of MPs behind it.

That has open the door to the possibility of leaving the EU without a deal in place and car manufacturers believe that could play havoc in terms of getting timely delivery of key parts.

“The worry has always been one of supply chains, getting the parts through customs and obviously my board of directors have signed off a £30 million contingency [fund],” Andy Palmer, CEO of Aston Martin, told Euronews at the Geneva Motor Show. “We’re using that as we need to. We have increased the number of stillages, we’ve increased the inventory.

“We’re ready and we have to be ready because I’m building cars now that will leave the factory in April and May post whatever Brexit looks like.”

BMW echoed Dr Palmer sentiments.

“At the moment we are very much hoping for free trade between the UK and Europe and to keep a free flow of products, which is very important if you look at the logistics of a global production network that we are supporting at BMW,” said BMW management board member Pieter Nota.

“That needs to be a possibility without interruptions, without disruptions and therefore we really need an end of this period of uncertainty.

Other manufacturers, like Citroen, say they are not feeling any effects of Brexit yet but are concerned about what the future holds.

“Inevitably, I import vehicles into the UK so I’m affected by the exchange rate fluctuations and of course everybody is now waiting what is the decision going to be, because it’s the instability,” said Citroen CEO Linda Jackson.

“But until we know what it is, what can we do? So it’s very difficult times for manufacturers, indeed for everybody in the UK because of this instability.

“But we have to find a solution in terms of being able to support customers and obviously trying to maintain a presence in the UK.”