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BMW mulling electric Mini facility outside UK

28 February 2017

Amid Brexit uncertainties, BMW might opt for a manufacturing base outside the UK, possibly Germany, for electric Minis.

Most Minis are made at the company's Oxford plant, one of the biggest such facilities in the country, but the electric version of the car could be made in Germany.

Reuters reported that BMW is considering potential production locations in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands for manufacturing a fully battery-powered electric version of its Mini hatch.

The vehicle was already under production at Born, the Netherlands, and Oxford, England.

"We always consider a wide range of factors to make sure we choose the most appropriate location in each case," a spokeswoman for BMW told Reuters.

He added that factors such as the availability of qualified staff and a capable supplier base were key determining factors in the decision.

According to commentators if BMW were to decide to make the Mini elsewhere, it would come as a major blow to the government. Greg Clark, the business secretary, plans to make vehicles and battery the mainstay of UK's industrial strategy, serving as its ''emblematic area of focus''.

But the uncertainty over whether the electric Mini would be built at all was among several issues threatening to derail the revival of the UK's car industry, according to commentators.

Though Nissan had agreed to increasing investment in its Sunderland facility, the prospect of job losses at Vauxhall's factories in Ellesmere Port and Luton in the event the PSA Group, the owner of Peugeot, completed a deal to buy General Motors' European business, which included Vauxhall and Opel, loomed large.

BMW announced last year, that it planned to launch sales of its battery-powered Mini in 2019 and said that it would take a call on where to produce the car this year.

According to a report in the German newspaper Handelsblatt, BMW was considering building the Mini at its plants in Regensburg and Leipzig rather than Oxford.

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