Brexit Could Bring An End To Mini Production In The U.K.
How British do you want your Mini?by Jonathan Lopez, on
The Mini is one of Britain’s most iconic automobiles, with a history that dates back to 1959 with the British Motor Corporation. Over the years, BMC and it’s various evolutions (British Leyland, Rover Group, etc.) were responsible for churning out the models, but in 2000, BMW bought the brand. Despite German ownership, Mini models are still produced in the U.K. by British workers, with roughly 200,000 units rolling off the line in Oxford every year. However, with the looming ramifications of the ongoing Brexit negotiations still in flux, that could change.
The latest news comes from the U.K. publication The Telegraph, which reports that Mini chief executive Harald Krueger has voiced concern over the consequences of the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union. “We hope for pragmatism from all parties in the Brexit negotiations. That means no new barriers to trade, free movement for skilled workers,” Krueger said at BMW’s annual shareholder meeting in Munich. It’s feared that new tariffs and restrictions could force BMW’s hand in moving production to Europe. “We are planning in terms of scenarios,” Krueger added. “You know that we make Mini models at VDL Nedcar in the Netherlands. We’re flexible.”
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This latest Brexit drama comes at a delicate point for Mini and BMW, as a forthcoming all-electric Mini model is expected to make headlines soon. At the same time, U.K. autoworkers are in the midst of a strike over negotiations regarding pension plans. Throw in the uncertainty of a departure from the E.U., and things get complicated rather fast.
While the bulk of Mini models are currently produced in the U.K., BMW also has a plant in the Netherlands that supplements the British-born models. If things take a turn for the worse, the Netherlands plant could act as a buffer until things are straightened out one way or the other, hence Krueger’s comments about flexibility.
Of course, the running joke is that the contemporary Mini is more Bavarian than British. If production is moved out of the U.K., will that perception become even more widespread, despite the option to get a Union Jack on the roof? Let us know in the comments.
Read the full review of the Mini Countryman here.
Source: The Telegraph