Mini currently produces cars in Oxford, but some production could be shifted to the Netherlands in the case of a no-deal Brexit
BMW boss says Oxford plant has long-term future but production could be moved to the Netherlands in case of no-deal Brexit
More Mini production could be moved out of the UK if no Brexit deal is reached, although the boss of parent firm BMW, Harald Krüger, has stressed that he still sees a long-term future for the brand’s Oxford plant.
While the BMW Group has vowed that it won’t shut its UK factories – Mini’s Cowley and Oxford plants and Rolls-Royce‘s Goodwood facility – after Britain leaves the European Union (EU), the firm is preparing for potential disruption.
It has already brought forward a planned month-long closure of the Oxford plant to immediately after 29 March 2019, the day the UK is scheduled to leave the EU.
Talking about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit at the Paris motor show, Krüger said: “A hard Brexit is a lose-lose situation: we lose, the customers lose and the countries lose.
«My hope is that the solution can be pragmatic, but we must plan for every eventuality. We have already planned to move the shutdown in Cowley from the summer to April, and we are looking at our other UK plants to see what is necessary, as it’s possible we will need to take action there as well.
“It’s also possible that we could move some Mini production from Oxford to the Netherlands if that’s the most practical solution to maintain our competitiveness to sell in Europe.
“At the same time, however, I must point out that there are advantages to having our Mini plant in Cowley, especially when the UK is the largest market for the car. The UK is our fourth largest market in the world for our group, and we see an advantage in manufacturing there that we have invested in and intend to keep.”
Krüger’s final comment raises the possibility that BMW could move some Mini production across the Channel but replace it by bringing production of other vehicles into the Oxford plant to sell them into the UK. The Mini Clubman is already built at Oxford, for instance, and shares its underpinnings with the BMW 1 Series and BMW 2 Series.
BMW isn’t the only firm concerned about the impact of a failure to reach a Brexit deal. The manager of Toyota’s Burnaston plant recently warned that failure to reach an agreement could disrupt production there for months.