BMW has revealed that it is considering manufacturing its new electric Mini vehicle outside of the UK due to the uncertainty following the country's decision to exit the EU. A source close to the car manufacturing giant claims that BMW executives will make a decision on the location for the manufacturing of its new electric model by the end of September.
Mini manufactures around 70% of its 360,000 compact cars at its Oxford plant in Southern England. However, the car industry has expressed its concerns about the effect any loss of unfettered access to the EU, which is its largest export market, could have on plants after the UK's decision on Brexit last June.
It has been revealed that BMW are considering a number of options on where to build its new line of 'electric cars'. Some of those options include the plant in Oxford, a plant in Holland where it has recently built more of its more conventional vehicles, and its plants in Leipzig and Regensburg in Germany.
Board member, Ian Robertson has previously stated that BMW's electric Mini investment is likely to be worth tens of millions of pounds, but conceded that uncertainty over Brexit could be a concerning factor over the manufacturing process being moved from the UK.
Robertson said: "One of the elements is what is the likelihood of a tax regime and if there's a tax regime, how would it apply. If you made the motor in a German plant and you then assembled the car in a British plant, and you took the cars back to the German market, then the duty that you would pay would be reclaimed."
Britain could approve its first major electric battery hub in the next few weeks after officials in Central England submitted proposals in relation to the facility to a number of ministers in May. However, just last month, the car industry issued its strongest warning yet on the urgent need for politicians to strike a transitional Brexit deal to ensure unfettered trade is maintained.
Prime Minister Theresa May decided to hold a snap election last month, and that proved to be a disastrous decision. She lost her majority and ended up with a hung parliament after a dreadful campaign by the Conservative Party. It has now weakened her hand significantly as she enters talks with the EU over Brexit.
May's administration secured two new models at Japanese carmaker Nissan's plant in North England last year, which a source claimed was a government promise of extra support to counter any loss of competitiveness which may be caused by Brexit. Robertson has said open channels remain and that he has conducted several meetings with the Brexit Ministry and with Business Minister, Greg Clark. However, he conceded that the government could not make promises now regarding future tax or tariff arrangements as BMW neared its decision.