One in six jobs are at risk of redundancy without help from the government in restarting production of the automotive sectors, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
The SMMT wants emergency funding, permanent short-time working, business rate holidays, and VAT cuts to stem the flow of job losses as showroom reopen and production lines are restarting, it said.
About 168,000 people are directly employed in car making and 820,000 in the supply, retail and service support sectors, so the SMMT warning suggests 168,000 of the total could disappear, with knock on effects to local businesses those individual use.
Mr Hawes told the BBC’s Today programme that UK car manufacturers could not afford to pay import tariffs on components arriving in the UK from abroad, as the cost would be more than their profit margin.
He added, “It is vitally important that the government achieves its ambition, which is a trade agreement before the end of the year.”
The loss of 400,000 cars that would normally have been made is expected to cost the British car industry up to £12.5bn in revenue.
Car makers across Europe now predict a 25% drop in business this year, from 12.8M new models last year to 9.6M this year, the sharpest drop in history.