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Management

Toyota boss Akio Toyoda drops ‘we won’t leave Brexit Britain’ hint

The boss of Toyota has hinted the car manufacturer will keep its UK plants even if Britain votes to leave the EU.

toyota (2)

Chief executive Akio Toyoda suggested the Japanese firm was looking to “deepen” its ties and would still be operating at its factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire, in 2090.

He told the Financial Times former staff had buried a time capsule at the assembly plant 25 years ago and he believed the firm’s workers would be there to open it.

He said: “From now on, like Japan, we may face some pretty tough times in the UK market. But we want to deepen our roots to deliver ever better cars, so when that capsule is opened after 100 years, all can see we’ve built a truly British company.”

His comments came as the debate around Britain’s membership of the EU intensified, with David Cameron insisting ministers in his government do not campaign for a “Brexit” until renegotiation talks finish.

The Prime Minister hopes to strike a deal on his demands at a crunch summit in Brussels next month which will then allow him to recommend that the UK remains within a reformed EU, but until the talks are concluded he stressed that all his ministers should follow the government line.

He also hinted an in/out referendum could take place as early as this summer.

Mr Toyoda suggested further investment by the car-maker could hinge on access to the wider EU market.

He told the paper: “In the sense that investment equals capacity then various things come into it, like the size of the market. But there are other kinds of investment: in research, in development, in people.”

The company employs around 3,400 staff in both Derbyshire and its engine plant in Deeside, north Wales.

  • jonlivesey

    This is news only to people who aren’t thinking. The costs of moving a major business to another country are enormous, and they aren’t just financial.

    Try imagining moving several major Banks from London to Paris and Frankfurt. Not only do you have the costs of the actual move, you lose some part of your current market – there is a reason why some of your customers choose to do business in London – and in addition you now have to find qualified staff.

    People blandly talk about major Banks moving to Dublin, for example, but they forget that there are more people employed in finance in London than the entire population of Dublin. So what are we supposed to think? Every garbage collector in Dublin becomes a financial analyst or trader?

    If Toyota do leave the UK at some point, it won’t have anything to do with Brexit. It will be when the cumulative advantages of moving outweigh the costs. That is, when Toyota can find a skilled workforce somewhere else in the EU whose productivity advantages add up to more than the cost of laying off its UK workforce, physically movjng the business, finding new executives, and locating the needed infrastructure to deliver cars to customers.

    A Management blog should know better than to report this as an issue of “opinion” when it is an intensely practical issue that has serious constraints on action