It’s probably not surprising to anyone that Brexit is making things all kinds of complicated for British car companies, and companies that build cars in the UK. Case in point, Bentley is hiring jets to fly car parts in from mainland Europe just to avoid difficulties at the borders and ports, according to a report published Wednesday by Reuters.
If that sounds like a wildly expensive and inconvenient way to do business, you’re probably not wrong. The Volkswagen-owned company has hired five Antonov cargo jets (you know, the big ones) to shuttle parts over since 90% of the components for its vehicles come from Europe. The jet scheme is meant as a stopgap should discussions in Belgium between UK and EU officials on trade relations not go well.
“We have spent two years planning. We have five Antonovs that we have on reserve to fly bodies to Manchester,” Adrian Hallmark, CEO of Bentley, said in a statement. “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.”
Bentley is in a unique position in the car industry, where Brexit is concerned. Its customers are unlikely to balk significantly at cost increases, and there are likely ways that the company could further cut costs to help weather the transition if things go poorly. It’s also expecting to sell upward of 10,000 vehicles this year, worldwide — a figure which, according to Hallmark, is enough for the company to turn a profit for the year.