German car parts maker to shut UK sites, citing Brexit

London: Schaeffler, a German maker of parts for cars and industrial products, announced Tuesday plans to shut two UK sites, with Brexit cited for axing up to a reported 500 jobs.

Schaeffler said in a statement that “uncertainty surrounding Brexit has brought forward” a decision to restructure globally.

“A global business needs to regularly review market conditions and strive to optimise its footprint across different regions,” added Regional CEO Europe, Juergen Ziegler.

“The proposed measures we have taken for the UK reflect this business reality. However, we remain committed to keeping certain activities in the UK, a country that will continue to be important to us.”

Schaeffler said the company proposes to close its sites in Llanelli, Wales, and Plymouth in southwest England, and to relocate their production to the US, China, South Korea and Germany.

“The global footprint analysis focused on how best to structure the business in the UK based on various factors including economic conditions, supply and demand,” the group added.

“It also took into account that only 15 percent of the goods Schaeffler produces in the UK remain in the country, while the vast majority is exported to continental Europe.

“The uncertainty surrounding Brexit was one factor amongst others in the analysis of the UK market.”

Schaeffler employs about 1,000 people across the UK, while its main site in Sheffield, northern England, will be retained and continue to assemble clutches for passenger cars and tractors.

The company has more than 92,000 staff worldwide.