March 6, 2018 / 10:36 AM / a year ago

Jaguar Land Rover needs Brexit detail before building electric cars in Britain

FILE PHOTO: Jaguar Land Rover's I-PACE concept car is seen on display ahead of it's 2018 production launch as Jaguar's first fully electric SUV at their 'Tech Fest' in London, September 7, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

GENEVA (Reuters) - Jaguar Land Rover (TAMO.NS) is waiting for more information on trading conditions after Brexit before it decides whether to make electric cars in its home market, the boss of Britain’s biggest carmaker told Reuters.

The Indian-owned automaker, which makes just under one in three of Britain’s 1.7 million cars at three factories, is building its new I-PACE electric model in Austria.

The company is due to decide this year whether to build electric vehicles in Britain but, like its peers, is worried about the imposition of tariffs or customs checks after Brexit, snarling up supply chains and adding costs to production.

“That makes the decision this year very, very critical and I don’t know whether we can make it,” Chief Executive Ralf Speth told Reuters at the Geneva Motor Show.

London and Brussels hope to agree on a transitional deal this month to maintain free and unfettered trade until at least the end of 2020 ahead of a long-term Brexit agreement to be decided by the end of the year.

Speth cited the need for support from government and academia but when asked whether Brexit was a factor in the decision-making process, he said:

“We are waiting for these kinds of decisions. It goes without saying because uncertainty is really challenging us very much and not only us, it’s for the complete industry.

“You hardly see inward investment any more or every decision is taking longer from every faculty. Therefore it would be ... appropriate to get more information about these kinds of deals.”

Editing by Stephen Addison

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