Brussels - The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and key national carmakers associations have warned of the "catastrophic consequences" of a no-deal Brexit.

With just over a month to go before the UK is due to leave the European Union, ACEA and the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA), as well as 21 national associations, joined forces to release a rare joint statement on Sunday to stress the impact a no-deal Brexit would have on what it called "one of Europe's most valuable economic assets."

The European industry chiefs warned that the repercussions of a no-deal to what it called a "vital sector" will be severe.

"The UK's departure from the EU without a deal would trigger a seismic shift in trading conditions, with billions of Euros of tariffs threatening to impact consumer choice and affordability on both sides of the Channel," they said in a joint statement.

"The end of barrier-free trade could bring harmful disruption to the industry's just-in-time operating model, with the cost of just one minute of production stoppage in the UK alone amounting to 54 700 euros," the statement continued.

"Meanwhile, WTO tariffs on cars and vans could add 5.7 billion euros to the collective EU-UK automotive trade bill, raising prices for customers if manufacturers cannot absorb the additional cost."

The car companies said they believe that such disruption and cost must be avoided, and that all efforts should be made to deliver an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

Contributors to the statement included the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), the Committee of French Automobile Manufacturers (CCFA) and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

dpa