BMW UK boss: We will not close UK factories post-Brexit

by Jimi Beckwith, Autocar UK 27 Jun 2018


BMW UK boss Ian Robertson has clarified BMW's stance on UK production post-Brexit, stating that “we are committed to our operations in the UK, our workforce here”, Reuters reports.

This follows comments that sparked fears BMW would leave the UK in the event of a Brexit deal that caused problems for its UK production facilities. Robertson has said that the comments were taken out of context and referred to something else.

When asked whether BMW was actively considering pulling out of the UK over Brexit uncertainty, Robinson replied: “No, we’re not”. 

Earlier this week, the Financial Times published comments from BMW's customs manager, Stephan Freismuth, who said: “We always said that we can do our best and prepare everything, but if at the end of the day the supply chain will have a stop at the border, we can't produce our products in the UK.”

Robertson said that Freismuth was instead talking about supply disruption causing delays at BMW's UK factories. 

BMW currently builds Minis at its Oxford plant and Rolls-Royces at its Goodwood facility. No cars bearing the BMW badge are produced in the UK. 

The reining in of the comments comes on the same day that SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes reiterated his warning that the UK car industry is at risk from Brexit. 

“There is no Brexit dividend for our industry, particularly in what is an increasingly hostile and protectionist global trading environment," Hawes said. "Our message to government is that until it can demonstrate exactly how a new model for customs and trade with the EU can replicate the benefits we currently enjoy, don’t change it."

BMW has long warned the British government over the dangers to UK production in the event of a hard Brexit. Group boss Harald Kruger previously stated: "We hope for pragmatism from all parties in the Brexit negotiations. That means no new barriers to trade and free movement for skilled workers. We're planning in terms of scenarios. You know that we make Mini models at VDL Nedcar in the Netherlands; we're flexible."

 

Also read: 

"There is no Brexit dividend for the UK car industry - just risk," warns automotive chief

Global NCAP chief: 'UK will lose car safety regulations influence post-Brexit'

Brexit impact: EU automakers urge urgent action to solve sector-specific issues