Five jumbo jets waiting to transport for automaker
Delays expected as result of no-deal Brexit
With the United Kingdom continuing to trudge toward a no-deal Brexit, automakers like Bentley are starting to make plans to help deal with what is expected to be a massive border disruption starting from the end of this year. For Bentley, that means cargo planes on standby to help avoid crowded ports and border crossings and fly car components as close to the factory as possible.
Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark, speaking at an industry conference, said that five 747 cargo aircraft were on standby to help transport parts to the automaker’s factory in the UK, The Guardian reports. While most of the company’s assembly work is done in Crewe, many components from the VW-owned company come from elsewhere in Europe, and that includes bodies for the Bentley Continental made in Zwickau, Germany and for the Bentley Bentayga made in Bratislava, Slovakia.
We’re ready to jump off a cliff with a parachute that hasn’t been tested,” Hallmark said. “We’d rather not be jumping off the cliff with a parachute at all.”
Air transport is significantly more expensive for automakers than normal truck and sea transport, but concerns with customs and immigration at a new UK-EU border including massive cost overruns has many importers and exporters concerned about a backlog where previously none existed. The British Government has built a massive customs clearance site for the thousands of trucks crossing daily, though it’s not yet ready and the site has experienced flooding.
Bentley is not the only automaker affected by this, and it and other automakers are looking to stockpile parts to help buffer against production delays. Bentley, the report says, has 14 working days of parts in rented warehouses, where normally it would have two days of stock. For the low-volume manufacturer, whose production for a year is equalled in a week by some other UK auto plants, this is not as difficult an action to take.
Hallmark said, per the report, that a port disruption would damage the automaker more than the expected 10 percent tariffs that would come into effect on January 1st.