Jaguar Land Rover boss says European customers are avoiding buying British cars amid Brexit
Jaguar Land Rover's chief executive Ralf Speth said that its vehicles would be less affordable for Europeans, if the Brexit deal leads to import and export tariffs  with Europe Reuters

Europeans are avoiding purchasing British cars following the UK's vote to leave the European Union in August, said Ralf Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). He added he was informed about this by the carmaker's European sales team.

"They have the very first customers in their showrooms [who] clearly highlight that they don't want to buy British products anymore," Speth said at the Paris Motor Show.

He also warned that this trend could hurt the UK car industry, which supports about 800,000 jobs.

Speth said the industry could suffer more if the final Brexit deal between the UK and the EU results in tariffs being imposed on goods sold to the Continent from the UK.

He explained this would increase the cost of cars in two ways: import tariffs on parts JLR purchases from EU nations and the export tariffs on finished cars being sold across EU nations.

Speth said this would make its vehicles less affordable for European customers.

"If we face higher tariffs than anybody else, then it's quite clear that it's reducing the competitiveness of our products, especially in Europe," he was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

This follows Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn demanding compensation from the UK if EU imposes "post-Brexit" tariffs.

The Japanese automaker warned that the compensation would be required in order to continue producing cars competitively in the UK.

Nissan's plant in Sunderland is the country's biggest car manufacturing unit and accounts for about 30% of the British auto industry's headline output, employing more than 6,500 people.

When asked to comment on Nissan's demand, Speth said other automakers in the UK should also be given a Brexit compensation deal, if one Nissan receives one.

"We are the only car manufacturer in the UK to do all the work in terms of research, design, engineering, production planning in the UK. We want to have fair treatment and a level playing field at the end of the day," he added.

When asked if JLR would change its investment plans in the UK after the country leaves the EU, Speth said it will not alter its investment strategy but may spend its money elsewhere.

"We have to realign all of our thinking and work on how to handle this Brexit best," he said.