- BMW chairman Harald Kruger has called for a pragmatic Brexit resolution
- He warned in the event of tariffs on cars the new Mini could be built in Europe
- The company said the new electric Mini would be built in an Oxford factory
- Parts for the new car would be imported from the firm’s German factory
BMW could shift production of the new electric Mini to the Netherlands in the event of a hard Brexit.
The German motor giant announced in July it was planning to build the new all-electric Mini in Oxford despite the British government’s decision to press ahead with Brexit.
However, the firm’s chairman, Harald Kruger, warned the Bavarian motor giant could reverse this decision in the event of a hard Brexit.
BMW has warned it may pull production of the new electric Mini from its plant in Oxford if Britain crashes out of the EU without a trade deal in what is known as a ‘hard Brexit’
BMW announced plans to build the new Mini, pictured, using parts manufactured in Germany
BMW boss Harald Kruger, pictured, said the absence of a trade deal will harm all sides
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Mr Kruger said ‘both sides would lose’ in the event of Britain crashing out of the EU without any deal. He said the firm was ‘flexible’ where it may build cars in future.
He said: ‘Today already there is a second location for Mini.’
BMW has a factory ready to produce the new car in the Netherlands. The new car’s battery and motors will be imported from Germany – which could add significantly to the manufacturing costs if tariffs are introduced on car parts.
Mr Kruger stressed the need for a ‘pragmatic solution that ensures business is competitive in the future . . . Both parties need to see the bigger picture’.
He warned BMW ‘can’t invest into the future if you don’t have any free trade agreements’.
A hard Brexit could see a 4.5 per cent duty on parts crossing from the EU into Britain and 10 per cent on cars exported between the UK and the EU.
In July, the company said it had neither sought nor received assurances that it would not be hit with border taxes when it ships parts to Britain.
Currently Britain enjoys tariff-free trade with the other 27 members. Britain’s future trade relationship with the EU is uncertain and will be the topic of complex negotiations over the coming months and possibly years. The two sides have until March, 2019 to reach a new agreement, unless an extension is agreed.
BMW is pushing to include more electric vehicles in its lineup by offering hybrid and battery-only models of existing diesel and gasoline cars, on top of its i8 and i3 models designed as electric from the ground up. The entire industry is under pressure to come up with low-emissions cars to meet tighter government pollution standards, including the effort to limit greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
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