LONDON, April 2 More than 90 percent of
companies operating in the British car industry want the country
to stay within the European union, a survey showed on Wednesday,
with access to the single market deemed fundamental to the
The automotive industry has been one of the most vocal
supporters of EU membership since Prime Minister David Cameron
promised an in/out referendum by the end of 2017 if his party
wins next year's election.
A survey by trade association the Society of Motor
Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) found 92 percent of automotive
companies believed that staying in the EU would be best for
their business, with 70 percent concerned that a withdrawal
would damage their medium to long term futures.
Despite the strong support, SMMT members said they did want
to see reform of the 28-member bloc, with many regulations seen
as too complex and likely to undermine international
"The position of the UK automotive industry is clear - being
part of a strong Europe is critical for future success," SMMT
Chief Executive Mike Hawes said in a statement.
"The recent success of the UK automotive sector is due to
its global competitiveness; competitiveness that is enhanced by
a supportive business environment at home and access to the huge
The British car industry enjoyed a renaissance in 2013,
hitting a six-year production high due to strong domestic demand
and exports outside the European Union.
The SMMT survey said the main EU benefits were access to a
single market, integrated supply chains, free movement of labour
and the ability to influence harmonised technical regulations
across the region.
The EU is also seen as an important bargaining force when it
comes to agreeing global trade negotiations.
(Reporting by Kate Holton and Brenda Goh, Editing by Belinda