Michael Cole

Michael Cole

Kia Europe COO Michael Cole has told just-auto that he does not see a big market impact from Brexit and that initial indications from the company's UK dealers show no adverse impact since the referendum result.

Speaking in Barcelona on the sidelines of a European launch event for the Kia Niro hybrid crossover, Cole acknowledged that there is considerable uncertainty around since the UK referendum result to leave the EU on June 24th.

"No-one really knows what the full impact will be," he said. "And there is always the concern initially about what it might do to consumer confidence." However, he said indications from dealers thus far have given no cause for concern. "Uncertainty is never good, but very early indications after the first few weeks are okay," Cole says. "Dealers in the UK are saying to us that there is no real impact yet. The sales momentum that we have had doesn't appear to have fallen off."

He also pointed out that the June decline in UK car sales isn't down to Brexit. "Yes, the UK car market was down a little bit in June, but that wasn't down to the Brexit vote – the result of which came through on 24th of June. The UK car market – running at record highs - has been slowing anyway.

"Brexit has not had a big impact and we don't see it having a big impact."

That said, Cole realises that there is a lengthy negotiation ahead to arrange for the UK's departure from the trade bloc. Some estimates say that it could last much longer than the planned two years after the Article 50 trigger is pulled.

"What we don't know is what is going to happen in the negotiations," maintains Cole. "We will have to wait and see, but what will it change fundamentally on what we have today? I don't see it changes things fundamentally in the European environment.

"But we will of course, watch developments very closely."