BMW boss Harald Krueger has amplified the threat of the group moving production of the Mini abroad in the case of a hard Brexit.
The comments were made at the group's annual meeting in Munich, reports the Telegraph, where Kruger said: “We hope for pragmatism from all parties in the Brexit negotiations; that means no new barriers to trade, free movement for skilled workers. We are planning in terms of scenarios. You know that we make Mini models at VDL Nedcar in the Netherlands. We're flexible."
BMW Group has already expressed its consideration to building its 2019 electric model in Germany due to concerns relating to Brexit, according to reports in German newspaper Handelsblatt.
Using inside sources, the paper said BMW’s British brand could opt to use plants in Regensburg or Leipzig in Germany, or Dutch contract manufacturer Nedcar to produce the model, rather than expanding production at Oxford.
The shift would take place if the UK fails to secure a 'single market' trade agreement with the European Union, something the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) has described as crucial to ensure the sustainability of Britain's automotive sector.
Mini said no decision had been made regarding its EV production at this stage. It told Autocar in an official response: "Mini has announced that it will launch an EV in 2019. The production arrangements for this model have not yet been decided and will be in due course."
Handelsblatt said BMW would open conversation with the British government at the start of March with the UK’s decision to leave the EU likely to be a key topic.
Mini’s first electric vehicle is due to make production in 2019 as the fifth model in the brand’s growing line-up. It follows a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the Countryman.