Brexit could count against U.K. as base for electric Mini: source

Reuters News
|
Posted: Feb 27, 2017 11:24 AM

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Uncertainty about post-Brexit tariffs makes it harder for BMW to choose Britain as a production hub for an electric Mini, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The source said BMW would review potential production locations in Germany, Britain and the Netherlands for manufacturing a fully battery-powered electric version of its Mini hatch, which is already being produced in Born, the Netherlands, and Oxford, England.

German daily Handelsblatt had reported earlier that BMW was considering producing an electric version of its Mini compact car in Germany, rather than Britain.

BMW confirmed that a decision about an electric Mini is due this year, but declined to say where the vehicle would be made.

"We always consider a wide range of factors to make sure we choose the most appropriate location in each case," a spokeswoman for BMW said, adding that factors such as the availability of qualified staff and a capable supplier base were key determinants.

BMW reiterated that Britain's exit from the European Union had made long-term planning more difficult for the group.

"The Brexit vote creates uncertainty for the automotive sector and uncertainty is not helpful when it comes to making long-term business decisions," BMW said.

It added that it was too early to comment on what Brexit would mean for business given that formal negotiations between the U.K. and the EU have not even begun.

"What’s important for us is that the U.K.’s negotiations with the EU result in uncomplicated, tariff-free access to the EU single market in future," BMW said.

(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)