Bentley prepares for no-deal Brexit by booking cargo planes to fly in car parts

British luxury car manufacturer has five Antonovs on reserve in case supply chain is disrupted

Bentley Motors
(Image credit: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images)

Bentley Motors will take to the skies to transport car parts to the UK in the event of any disruption caused by a no-deal Brexit, the Cheshire-based company has announced.

The luxury car manufacturer, owned by Volkswagen, currently buys 90% of its components from continental Europe - posing the threat of “potential supply bottlenecks” if the UK crashes out of the EU without a future trade agreement on 31 December, says Reuters.

But Bentley boss Adrian Hallmark told an industry conference yesterday that the marque, which sells around 24% of its cars into Europe, has spent “millions on preparations for Brexit”, The Guardian reports.

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Speaking at the Financial Times’ Future of the Car digital summit, Hallmark said: “We have spent two years planning. We have five Antonovs that we have on reserve to fly [car] bodies to Manchester.

“We used to run just-in-time with two days’ stock. Now we have 14 days’ stock. That’s 14 working days, so that’s three weeks of stock.”

He added that as the clock ticks down to the end of the Brexit transition period, “we’re ready to jump off a cliff with a parachute that hasn’t been tested. We’d rather not be jumping off the cliff with a parachute at all.”

As well as putting the cargo planes on standby, Bentley has also booked additional warehouses and planned new logistics routes.

Carmakers “typically try to avoid using air transport because it is much more expensive than land or sea”, says The Guardian. However, planes are sometimes used when there are “urgent requirements”.

The UK’s largest carmaker, Jaguar Land Rover, flew in “some vital key fobs from China in suitcases when the start of the coronavirus pandemic caused shortages” back in February, the paper reports.

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