When people think of Mini, it's often referred to as a British brand despite them being under the BMW Group now. That said, almost all of Mini's 3-door, 5-door hatchback, and Clubman models are still built in Great Britain, specifically at Mini's Oxford plant located in England. However, that could soon change due to the United Kingdom's upcoming withdrawal from the European Union (EU), more commonly known as 'Brexit'.
BMW's plan to shift export production of the Mini is a way to mitigate the possible logistics and financial caused by a 'hard Brexit'. This is because there may no longer be a free trade agreement between the EU and the U.K. Instead, BMW could be forced to shift production to contract manufacturer VDL, which is based in the Netherlands.
BMW along with several manufacturers currently having assembly operations in the UK are hopeful that a trade deal is struck to dampen the effects of 'Brexit' on businesses.
BMW Group CEO Harald Krueger said without a free trade agreement with the EU, Mini will be forced to shift more production to the contract manufacturer VDL in the Netherlands.
BMW earlier announced the rescheduling of its Oxford plant its annual summer maintenance stoppage, it is slated April 1, 2019, as the new date, three days after the official 'Brexit' date. That said, BMW plans to retain production of Mini for local consumption in the UK as it is still considered to be their largest market. It likewise assured that production will continue at the UK’s Hams Hall engine plant, which builds 3- and 4-cylinder gasoline engines for the BMW namesake brand and Mini.
Netherlands' based VDL currently builds the Mini 3-door hatchback, 3-door cabriolet, and the Countryman SUV. Should Brexit hit Mini hard, it would likely be the new main exporting hub in supplying customers in Europe. Currently, the brand's Oxford plant is known as the main global hub for exporting vehicles all across the globe.
Source: Automotive News Europe