The boss of one of Europe’s biggest independent Ford car dealers has warned jobs could be lost in his industry, after the UK leaves the EU.
Peoples chairman Brian Gilda, who runs six dealerships in Scotland and the north of England, said Brexit tariffs could push costs up 15%.
The dealership announced a 17% drop in profit in the last year, to £4.5m.
That came as the UK carmakers’ industry body, the SMMT, said it needed Brexit “like a hole in the head”.
New investment in the UK car industry has plummeted as manufacturers concentrated on getting ready for a possible no-deal Brexit.
The government said that the automotive industry “remains one of our great success stories”, adding that it had been helping businesses to prepare.
Peoples, which employs 400 staff, saw record turnover of £277m in the past year but said the profit fall showed trading conditions were “difficult”.
Gilda said of the post-Brexit landscape: “At some stage, tariffs are going to be introduced.
“You could have an engine which is built in Dagenham, which gets exported into Europe which will have a tariff.
“It then gets fitted into a Fiesta in Cologne and comes back in, and will have a tariff.”
He added: “It looks as those these tariffs are going to add somewhere between 10% and 15% to the price of a car.
“The manufacturers can’t afford that right now. They’re in the grubber financially, so something’s going to happen in terms of production.
“That’s going to affect consumer confidence and that in-turn will affect the economy and jobs.”
Asked if that could force the closure of car dealerships, he said: “I’m sure that’s the case.
“Some privately-owned companies who are lacking in resource might just say, ‘enough is enough, this is worse than a recession’.”
Gilda said he had been putting his own Brexit plans in place, adding: “I am hopeful that we will get a result, but determined not to fall apart if we don’t.”