BMW will close its Mini factory in Oxford for two days on 31 October to guard against potential disruption as the carmaker prepares for Brexit. The German company’s chief financial officer, Nicolas Peter, said the Cowley plant would shut on 31 October – Brexit deadline day – and 1 November to safeguard the company’s logistics. Peter said BMW had no plans to shift manufacturing to other sites yet but that Cowley was likely to produce fewer cars under a no-deal Brexit.
“No deal would mean that, most likely, World Trade Organisation tariffs would be imposed from 1 November onwards,” Peter said. “This would mean that we would most likely have to raise the prices of the products produced in the UK and shipped to other markets. The increase of price means an impact on the volume you sell, and would eventually lead to a reduction of produced cars in Oxford.”
BMW has warned that leaving the EU with no deal may force it to stop making the Mini at Cowley, endangering more than 4,500 jobs and more than 100 years of carmaking at the site. It shifted some of its engine production from the West Midlands to Germany in July.
Last month BMW’s chief executive, Harald Krüger, urged Boris Johnson to find a compromise to prevent damage to the UK’s businesses and economy. BMW also makes Minis in the Netherlands and Peter said the company would use production cuts as a “first step” to manage a no-deal Brexit.
“What’s extremely important is to use the weeks we have before 31 October to develop and implement a constructive Brexit solution,” Peter said.