Rolls-Royce closes down two weeks for Brexit chaos
In spite of just having lived its best year ever in its 115 year history, British car maker, Rolls-Royce, prepares to close down its Goodwood factory for two weeks to avoid a feared chaos of the Brexit. “We decided to advance our annual two weeks maintenance pause to March 30th”, CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös says, “to avoid an inevitable impact on our activities.”
32.000 parts arriving every day
“We have around 600 suppliers worldwide”, the CEO adds, “and if we lack just part of the 32.000 parts that arrive each day, production in our Goodwood factory comes to a halt.” Rolls-Royces are exclusively built in the UK by BMW, which took over the British car icon in 1998. Some 2.000 people work at the Goodwood plant.
BMW decided earlier to do the same at the MINI factory in Oxford “to minimize disruption”. The factory with 4.500 people working there will close down for the whole month of April, the month after the Brexit – with EU deal or not – will become a fact at the 29th.
Rolls-Royce already enlarged its stock of spare parts and Müller-Ötvös admits he’s looking at alternative ways to get his parts delivered, like by air. A suggestion that was also done by Aston Martin CEO, Andy Palmer, who was one of the first to oppose fiercely against a ‘hard Brexit’, saying such an exit from the EU would be “a disaster for the car industry on both sides of the Channel”.
Today most parts imported from the EU into the UK pass through the harbour of Dover. The Financial Times earlier this week published a British government report, stating that in case of a hard Brexit toll barriers like before 1992 would be needed causing massive delays.
Six days waiting times
If 70 seconds are needed to check each one of the 10.000 trucks arriving in Dover each day, waiting times of six days are envisioned. Sixty seconds would already cause a queue of 1.200 to 2.700 trucks, while 80 seconds would bring traffic to a complete stop.
Leaving the UK is no option for Rolls-Royce’s chief Müller-Ötvös as the brand is “one of the British crown jewels”. He doesn’t rule out consequences of a ‘hard Brexit’ for the sales of the brand in the UK itself, representing 10% of total sales.
Best year ever
Last year Rolls-Royce sold 4.107 cars in 50 countries, a rise with 22% compared to 3.362 cars the year before. Thirty pro cent of sales is done in the US. The new Phantom II (costing around 460.000 euro) is part of the success, but the Ghost (starting at 291.000 euro) remains the best sold. Recently, Rolls-Royce has joined the SUV hype with its Cullinan (325.000 euro).