As CEO of Britain's iconic sports car maker Aston Martin Lagonda, Andy Palmer has conflicted feelings about the United Kingdom's vote last month to exit the European Union.
"Personally, I'm sad about it," Palmer said. "But it is what it is, and I don't think we will suffer too badly from it."
In fact, he adds, Aston Martin probably will benefit from the Brexit decision in the short run.
"The immediate result of this is the decline in the value of the pound," Palmer told Automotive News from the company's headquarters in Gaydon, 40 miles southeast of Birmingham, England. "And because we export 80 percent of our production, that will benefit us. With a lower pound, exporters will find that their exports are more profitable.
"A weaker pound is fundamentally good news."
The pound was worth $1.33 as of Tuesday, June 28, down 10 percent from $1.48 on June 23, the day the U.K. voted on Brexit.
Palmer's take on life in the post-Brexit landscape illustrates the complexity of global trade.
Palmer doubts the EU will impose a tariff on British-made goods, such as Aston's V-12-powered Vantage and the Vanquish grand tourer, because Europe is itself a net exporter of autos. But even if it does, the tariff likely would be less than 7 percent, Palmer predicts.
"Only 15 percent of our production goes into Europe, so the impact of such a tariff will be small," he said.
"And if the pound depreciates somewhere north of 7 percent, it would almost offset each other," he calculated. "In which case, no problem."
But should the EU impose tariffs and the pound then appreciate, it could be a problem.
"In that scenario, exporting from the U.K. would start to become uncompetitive," he said. "Carmakers here will have to improve their efficiencies or begin making other decisions," he said ominously, alluding to the possibility of sourcing vehicles and parts in other countries.
"We won't. We're wedded to the U.K. We've made a decision to build the new DBX in Wales," he said of the new sporty crossover vehicle that will hit the market in 2020.
He left open the possibility that tariffs on top of an appreciating pound would cause the company to look for new ideas in manufacturing efficiencies.
Aston Martin vehicles are currently 40 to 50 percent U.K. content due to the company's reliance on engines and transmissions imported from Germany. Aston Martin also imports wire harnesses made by Mercedes-Benz, whose parent, Daimler AG, owns 5 percent of Aston Martin.
The currency exchange hit of euro-based engines going into pound-based car assembly would be offset by re-exporting the finished cars to euro markets, including Germany itself.