A storm is brewing as clouds gather over Bristol Port, with the rain set to fall on tens of thousands of vehicles parked in the port's car compounds, ready for export by ship, or destined for UK dealerships.
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Whatever level of access UK-made cars get to markets around the world after Brexit, the manufacturers ultimately have to try ensure that their vehicles will be popular with overseas buyers.
Mr Hawes says that this is not always easy, citing the fact that the UK's best-selling car is the compact Ford Fiesta, whereas the most popular vehicle in the US is the large Ford F150 pick-up truck.
Consequently, there are reasons to question whether the US market is the most natural one to focus on for UK manufacturers, which tend to produce cars that suit British and European consumers, he observes.
"So it's also about producing the right car for the market," he says, pointing to how Honda is producing the Civic in Swindon for global markets. "They have shown it can be done".