BMW considering making electric Mini outside of Britain due to Brexit fears
The majority of Minis are produced at the company’s plant in Oxford, one of the largest car production factories in the UK, but BMW is now considering moving the operation to Germany.
This would be a significant blow to the Government, should the prospect come to fruition, Greg Clark, the business secretary, wants to put electric vehicles and battery technology at the heart of the UK’s industrial strategy, calling the sector an “emblematic area of focus”.
The uncertainty about where the electric Mini will be built is one of a number of issues that could potentially set back the recent revival of the British car industry after the Government persuaded Nissan to commit additional investment to its plant in Sunderland.
The new electric Mini was announced last year and currently it is slated for release in 2019. The German carmaker has said a decision on where the car will be produced will be made later this year. German daily Handelsblatt has reported that BMW is thinking about moving production from Oxford to its factories in Regensburg and Leipzig. Another option on the table is the plant owned by the company in the Netherlands where a third of all Minis are already produced.
BMW will hold talks with the UK Government before it commits to a decision but has previously admitted to fears about Britain leaving the single market and being charged tariffs on imports and exports.
A statement released by the company said: “The decision on where to build the full-electric Mini will be taken this year.
“As formal negotiations between the UK and the EU have not even begun yet it is too early to comment on what Brexit will mean for our business.
“The BMW group has always made clear that we believe integration of the UK into the EU single market, maintaining free movement of goods, services, capital and talent, would be best for business. What’s important for us is that the UK’s negotiations with the EU result in uncomplicated, tariff-free access to the EU single market in future.
“As a major investor and employer in the UK, the BMW group urges the government to take the concerns of international business into account. Not only free trade but also cross-border employment opportunities and unified, internationally applied regulations are of proven benefit to business, the economy and individuals.”
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