Conti CEO: Brexit vote “very worrying”

Tyre industry begins offering responses to Brexit decision

Leading tyre manufacturers have begun offering their responses to the UK electorate’s decision to leave the EU. Describing the trajectory of the Brexit vote as “very worrying”, Continental AG CEO Dr Elmer Degenhart commented: “Taking the pan-European context into account the vote is very worrying. ‘Everyone on his own’ does not fit the idea behind the formation of the EU and cannot be the answer to the challenges of the global competition with America and Asia.”

However, Degenhart does not expect big problems for Continental itself: “The direct economic impact on Continental is expected to be limited because currently we generate less than 3 per cent of our sales in the UK and expect to be successful in this market also in the future.”

In response to Tyres & Accessories’ questions, Goodyear Dunlop UK and Ireland affirmed the value of the UK tyre market, saying: “The UK remains an important market for Goodyear.” However, the company’s statement also acknowledged that the situation is developing: “As the process for the UK to leave the EU moves forward, we will assess the situation.”

Pirelli’s statement spoke of the company’s confidence both economically and in terms of its ongoing vision: “Pirelli in recent years has strengthened its position in numerous markets, both from a financial point of view and an industrial one. It has the backing of significant and solid shareholders. Today it is a trim organization, with technologically advanced plants around the world and a diversified presence which allows it to take advantage of opportunities in growing markets and so compensate for the slowdown in areas of the world more hard hit by the crisis.”

Pirelli also played down the impact of Brexit on its UK business: “Costs and pricing will need to be balanced for the internal market. Regarding exports, higher raw material costs should be offset by sterling devaluation and control of operating costs. On balance, it should have little or no impact on our continuing operations in the UK.”

For its part the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which represents the automotive industry in the UK and advocated for the UK to remain in the European Union, called tariff free access to the European markets.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The British public has chosen a new future out of Europe. Government must now maintain economic stability and secure a deal with the EU which safeguards UK automotive interests. This includes securing tariff-free access to European and other global markets, ensuring we can recruit talent from the EU and the rest of the world and making the UK the most competitive place in Europe for automotive investment.”

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