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Toyota voices concerns of UK operations following May’s Brexit speech

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Toyota voiced concerns about the competitiveness of its operations in the UK on Wednesday, a day after the Prime Minister delivered a speech outlining her plans for the UK’s future outside the EU and the pursuit of a hard Brexit.

Takeshi Uchiyamada, Chairman of Toyota, told the FT at the World Economic Forum in Davos that he hopes for a bright future for the company’s operations in Britain.

However, he warned that plants in the UK will need to become more competitive to survive the effects of leaving the EU single market and customs union – as Theresa May indicated in her 11 step decision plan for Brexit.

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Toyota has two manufacturing plants in the UK representing a total investment in excess of £2.2 billion.

In response to Mrs May’s plan to take the UK out of the EU single makret and customs union, Mr Uchiyamada said:

“I won’t say that there is no impact to the company.”

“On our side, we have seen the direction of the prime minister of the UK, [so] we are now going to consider, together with the suppliers, how our company can survive.”

The Japanese carmaker is in talks with the government, exploring ways to minimise disruption for the company, Uchiyamada told the FT.

“We are considering and discussing with the government how to maintain the competitiveness and therefore through these kinds of communications we have with the government, our hope is that we will be able to draw a bright future for the continuing existence of the plant.”

He added:

“The company will have to make efforts to ensure that it doesn’t turn out that way and of course what the company needs to do in any country is to understand the overall policy of that country and do what they have to do.”