BMW’s Oxford factory in England is currently the favored location for building an electric version of the Mini despite Britain’s planned departure from the European Union, two sources familiar with the company’s thinking told Reuters on Wednesday.
Any decision by the German carmaker to commit to further spending at Oxford would be a boost to the British government, which has been warned by businesses at home and abroad that Brexit will hit investment.
Mini makes around 60 percent of its approximately 360,000 compact cars a year at Oxford, but BMW has built up an alternative manufacturing base in the Netherlands amid concerns about Britain’s suitability as an export hub after Brexit.
Asked whether the electric Mini would be built in Britain, a BMW spokeswoman said: “A final decision has not been taken.“
BMW has said it has several options about where to build the vehicle, including at a plant operated by VDL Nedcar in Born, Netherlands, where a plug-in hybrid version of the Mini is already being built, or a plant in Regensburg, Germany.
BMW has about 4,600 staff working in Oxford, while VDL currently employs around 4,500. That is set to rise to more than 5,000 after production of the BMW X1 model is added to the Dutch plant in August, a sharp rise from only 1,500 in 2012.
Carmakers have been among the most vocal critics of Brexit, warning their global supply chains will be hit hard by any resulting introduction of tariffs.
But they are also keen to have a strong position in Europe’s second-biggest car market behind Germany, particularly if they can secure government guarantees. Japan’s Nissan said in October it would build two new models in Britain after a government pledge to counter any adverse Brexit effects.
Note: This article originally in part or total via Reuters News.