“It is time to stop playing with words. ‘Soft’ or ‘hard’ Brexit and now ‘open’ mean nothing. It’s time to be brutally honest – our sector needs a comprehensive and bespoke trade agreement.”
Mr Hawes’ comments came as the SMMT’s annual sustainability report revealed that the industry had grown for the seventh year running, with its annual turnover now standing at £77.5bn, a rise of 9pc.
Employment numbers remained stable, with almost 170,000 people employed in manufacturing vehicles and a total of 814,000 jobs supported by the sector.
Car production rose 8.9pc, with each worker generating an average of £130,000. Productivity rose to a record high, with 11.8 vehicles produced for each person employed in the industry.