Heartless German Man Refuses To Support The UK

BMW considering moving MINI production to the EU after a no-deal Brexit because that's just sensible really.
By Daniel Smith
Cover photo: via BMW Group (edited).

In a move that quite literally nobody could possibly have anticipated, BMW has revealed that a no-deal Brexit would probably have some kind of impact on what does and doesn't happen in British car factories. Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW board member and head of MINI, has said the company is prepared to shift MINI engine production from England to Austria, AKA the EU somewhere, should the UK crash out of the EU in spectacular fashion on March 29.

BMW — which needs Britain more than Britain needs it — also needs to manufacture at least 55–60% of a vehicle inside the EU for it to benefit from a range of EU-brokered international trade perks. The looming possibility that Britain really could leave the European Union in a matter of weeks with no agreement reached about how its economy relates to Europe's and the world's has got international companies looking at contingency plans. In BMW's case, one such plan could be to move production to its factory in Steyr, to keep future MINIs' percentage of EU-made components above the required threshold.

With Honda already pledging to shutter its UK factory by 2021, PSA-owned Vauxhall mooting the possibility of doing the same and Nissan scrapping plans to build the new X-Trail in England, BMW moving MINI production elsewhere would be a serious blow to British manufacturing. Casual onlookers were flabbergasted by the mere suggestion that the British auto industry, undeniably flourishing since the mid-1950s, could be floored by something as trivial as having a huge number of barriers put in the way of moving parts and vehicles into and out of the country.

BMW's statement (by which I mean threat, of course) was met with the disgust it deserved. Right-thinking people tried and failed to think of any reason why a German, for-profit company wouldn't deal with the logistical and financial nightmare of operating in the UK with no UK–EU trade deal in place. Pledges were made to boycott BMW, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Vauxhall, and instead buy cars from any of the inumerable brands who support the UK, such as [BLANK], [BLANK] or Aston Martin — cars popular with people of all financial standings.

Britain losing the iconic MINI brand would be big, whatever way you look at it. Schwarzenbauer, however, made it clear that the decision hasn't yet been made, and it's likely that a reasonable chunk of MINI production would remain in the UK even if engine assembly were moved elsewhere. No word yet on whether Austrian MINIs would keep using the Union Jack taillights, mind you.

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