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Ford Fiesta to cost extra £1,700 as post-Brexit tariffs are slapped on

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 13/01/2021 Jonathan Prynn and Naomi Ackerman

British motorists will have to pay up to £1,700 more for two popular Ford models this year after they were hit by new post-Brexit tariffs.

The manufacturer has increased the list price of the sports versions of the Fiesta and Puma ranges, which are both made in the European Union and exported for sale in the UK.

The price rises come as hauliers warn that delays at Calais and other French ports are set to worsen as the number of trucks returns to normal levels and customs officials step up checks.

The three models of the Fiesta ST have gone up by between £1,455 and £1,695 to a maximum of £28,770. The recently launched Puma ST was available to order from September priced from £28,495 but this base price has increased to £30,415.

A Ford spokesman confirmed that the company had passed on tariffs it has to pay when the cars leave the EU bound for the UK because they fall foul of “rules of origin” restrictions.

Their 1.5 litre engines are made in America, increasing the proportion of components originating from outside the UK or the EU to above the tariff-free levels allowed under the trade deal agreed by Boris Johnson.

It is believed to be the first time since Brexit that a major car manufacturer has been forced to pass on tariffs.

A Ford UK spokesman told Autocar magazine the increases were “all to do with Brexit pricing”. He added: “There are two Ford models in the top-end, performance Fiesta and Puma ST models sold in the UK that now fall beyond the established limits for UK-EU local content under the rules of origin requirements, and are therefore subject to a tariff. The prices of these vehicles were increased in late December.”

However, he said the other versions of the Fiesta, Britain’s most popular new car model with around 80,000 sold in a normal year, were not affected because their one litre engines are made in Germany close to the assembly plant. The Puma is assembled in Romania.

Meanwhile French ministers have warned British truckers that its customs officials “will be especially vigilant in the coming week” as British haulage firms told of delays, significant financial losses — and fears that more drivers will have their lunches seized.  

James Withers, boss at trade body Scottish Food & Drink, said that firms report already losing as much as £250,000 in the chaos, with goods not even reaching the French border as firms struggle to secure hauliers.

He said the situation was deteriorating and urged the Government to “engage with the European Commission to introduce a grace period on the enforcement of these new rules”. He added: “This is having a ripple effect. So much of export is based on confidence — that takes longer to repair than an IT system.”  

The Road Haulage Association told the Standard the industry “is just bracing ourselves for it getting worse”.

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