Sunday 23 September 2018

BMW: 'no plans' to quit UK over Brexit

BMW Britain boss Ian Robertson
BMW Britain boss Ian Robertson

Sarah Young and Edward Taylor

BMW said it is not considering moving production out of Britain because of Brexit, although the carmaker has cut its dependence on its Oxford car plant by quietly expanding a new Dutch assembly site for its Mini brand.

By building up a second export base for its Mini brand outside of Britain, BMW can mitigate any damage caused by a possible hard exit from the European Union's single market.

Asked whether the German carmaker was actively considering moving production out of Britain due to uncertainty over future trade relationships, BMW executive Ian Robertson said: "No we're not.

"We are committed to our operations in the UK, our workforce here," the German carmaker's special representative for Britain said at a conference yesterday. Comments published in the 'Financial Times' from another BMW executive on Monday suggested that BMW would close its British factories which make Mini and Rolls-Royce cars if Brexit leads to serious supply chain disruption.

Mr Robertson said those comments were taken out of context and referred to supply chain disruption resulting in delays to production at factories.

Asked about the impact of Brexit uncertainty on any new production in Britain, Robertson said there were no investment choices to be made on that front.

BMW has spent the past four years quietly stepping up production capacity at a new European export hub for the Mini with Dutch contract manufacturer VDL Nedcar, reducing its dependence on a plant in Oxford. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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