LONDON—Fear of a no-deal Brexit is leading one in three United Kingdom-based automotive businesses to cut jobs, according to a survey by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
The level, which is up from one in eight a year ago, reflects the escalating fears of an industry dependent on free and frictionless trade with the European Union, the industry group said.
Indeed, added SMMT, 80.3 percent of respondents fear leaving the EU without a deal will have negative consequences for their future prospects, compared to 74.1 percent just 10 months ago.
Almost two-thirds (62.2 percent) said a 'no deal' outcome would impact their ability to win overseas business, while a similar number stated that they would be unable to invest in their UK operations.
Moreover, the threat of 'no deal' has already hurt the U.K. as 11.8 percent of firms said that they had already divested from their U.K.-based operations and 13.4 percent are relocating operations overseas.
Overall, 77.2 percent of firms say that there has already been a negative impact on business even before the UK has left the EU.
"As the Brexit clock ticks ever closer to midnight, this survey reveals the bleak future that awaits this vital sector in the event of no deal," SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said in a statement.
"Damage has already been done: investment is hemorrhaging, competitiveness being undermined, U.K. jobs cut and vast sums wasted on the impossibility of preparing for no deal."