If the UK crashed out of the EU without an orderly withdrawal agreement in place, automotive companies would further review planned investments for Britain, according to SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

Speaking at a media briefing in London, Hawes said that no-deal would mean that manufacturers would review investments and that no-deal would be ‘catastrophic’ for the UK’s automotive sector. “It would be adding to costs which would be very, very difficult to overcome,” he said.

He also said that the longer the uncertainty and instability remains for the UK, the more likely people are to conclude that the chances of no-deal are rising. “Companies can’t wait forever,” Hawes maintains.

“They have to make investments and if the UK is in a position where business conditions are unclear and there is instability, then that’s a reason not to invest in the UK and to invest elsewhere instead.”

The UK’s EU exit process has been disrupted by the inability of politicians in London to ratify the UK government’s negotiated agreement with the EU that sets out terms for the UK’s departure – or to agree on an alternative. An special EU summit next week has been called to discuss a proposed extension to the period left before the UK actually leaves the trade bloc.