Trade Dependency

Brexit Could Hurt German Car Exports

Employees load a Vauxhall car chassis onto the production line at the company's plant in Ellesmere Port.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    German car companies rely on the UK market for a significant portion of their sales, and worry that a Brexit could destabilize their business.

  • Facts


    • A recent poll for Handelsblatt found that executives of many large companies worry that a UK exit from the European Union will have a damaging effect on German businesses.
    • The UK is the largest export market worldwide for German cars, according to the  German Association of the Automotive Industry.
    • Almost one in three cars, or 810,000 cars, come from Germany. That’s around a fifth of the total number it exports worldwide.
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If Britain decides to leave the European Union, it will create a period of uncertainty that could impact trade between the country and the European continent. That is especially true when it comes to German car sales in Britain, a major market for VW, Mercedes and BMW.

A Brexit could trigger price hikes due to a depreciation of the pound versus other currencies and a decline in economic output that would ultimately pressure the car industry as well.

Germany’s export market could also take a hit, but “the German auto industry above all,” Andreas Meyer-Schwickerath, head of the British chamber British Chamber of Commerce in Germany, told news agency DPA earlier this week.

Almost one in three cars, or 810,000 cars sold in Britain, come from Germany, making the British island the biggest export destination for German car producers. It is around a fifth of the total number the industry exports worldwide, according to the German car association, VDA. Britain reached a new market high of 2.6 million car registrations in 2015 – 86 percent of which were not produced in the UK.

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