BMW to build electric Mini in UK despite Brexit risk

BMW will build an electric version of the Mini in the UK, choosing its factory in Oxford, over alternatives in Germany and the Netherlands despite risks associated with Brexit.

The German car giant insisted yesterday it did not “seek or receive” any assurance from the UK Government on post-Brexit trade before making the decision.

BMW said it had neither sought nor received any reassurances from the Government on post-Brexit trading arrangements.

Ministers faced questions last year about any assurances given to Nissan before the company announced that new versions of its Qashqai and X-Trail would be made in the UK.

There have been reports that Toyota agreed to invest in the UK after receiving a letter reassuring the Japanese carmaker over post-Brexit arrangements.

The battery-powered Mini will start production in 2019, BMW said. The model will be assembled at the plant until at least 2023.

Setting the production site for the e-Mini has been particularly complex because of competing political and economic pressures amid negotiations over Brexit. If a trade agreement proves unfavourable, components from Germany could face tariffs, making the project less viable.

But BMW can ill afford to hold off on a decision until a final deal, and assigning the model to Mini’s main plant would ease tensions with UK officials, who have been lobbying heavily for the marquee project.

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