A car parts supplier like Range Rover and BMW would close its UK plant and look to Europe.
Thermal Management Solutions (TMS) has told staff it intends to expand capabilities at manufacturing sites in France and Germany and to cut its UK division, Sky News has learned. The closure of the company’s site in Reading would affect 140 jobs.
“In recent years, the automotive industry has experienced unprecedented turbulence and uncertainty, with some markets hit harder than others,” TMS chief executive Mark Franckel told Sky News.
“It was against this difficult backgroup that the decision to transfer production from the UK to Europe was taken,” he added.
According to an insider, the company decided to shift to manufacturing bases in Europe due to supply chain issues that worsened following Brexit. A growing pile of paperwork, higher distribution costs and greater complexity hastened the decision, the insider told Sky News. The desire to increase its presence in Europe as TMS transitions from diesel and petrol vehicles to hybrid and electric cars has also been a factor.
The closure of the UK factory after more than 60 years is a sign of the detrimental impact of Brexit on the automotive industry. In a particularly heavy blow, Honda closed its Swindon plant in 2019, cutting 3,500 jobs in the process.
Automakers around the world are also being hit hard by a global shortage of semiconductor chips. In February, Mini announced the temporary closure of its Oxford factory due to supply shortages.
Read more: Brexit rule starts to bite: UK tariffs rise 64% in a year to record £4.5bn