BMW will shut down its Mini plant for a month after Brexit day

BMW will shut down its Mini plant for a month after Brexit day
BMW will shut down its Mini plant for a month after Brexit day

BMW‘s Mini factory in Oxford will shut down for a month after Brexit at the end of March next year, to minimise issues in the event of a ‘no-deal’ scenario.

The plant will not produce cars for at least a month from 29 March 2019 to reduce “possible short-term parts-supply disruption”.

A BMW spokesperson said in a statement: “While we believe this worst case scenario is an unlikely outcome, we have to plan for it.”

Workers have been told the annual summer maintenance shutdown has therefore been rescheduled to April as the company attempts to prevent losses in the case of an issue with supplies from the continent used to make its vehicles.

BMW makes cars under the BMW, Mini and Rolls Royce brands in the UK – the only country in the world where it does so for all three.

Statement from BMW

Minis in a robotic assembly line at the BMW Mini car production plant in Oxford (AFP/Getty Images)
Minis in a robotic assembly line at the BMW Mini car production plant in Oxford (AFP/Getty Images)

A statement from a BMW spokesperson read: “Planned annual maintenance periods at BMW Group production sites allow essential updating and equipment replacement to be completed over several weeks, while there is no production taking place.

“As a responsible organisation, we have scheduled next year’s annual maintenance period at MINI Plant Oxford to start on 1 April, when the UK exits the EU, to minimise the risk of any possible short-term parts-supply disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“While we believe this worst case scenario is an unlikely outcome, we have to plan for it.

Car industry concerns

The company, alongside other prominent car manufacturers, has warned that a bad or ‘no-deal’ Brexit could cost the industry dearly, with a real possibility of disruption at trade borders and a possible shortage of parts in factories.

The head of Honda Europe warned last week that Brexit would cost his company tens of millions of pounds, while Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralf Speth called on Theresa May to deliver “the right Brexit”.

Read more: Theresa May warned tens of thousands of jobs are at stake if she does not get ‘the right Brexit deal’

Dr Speth, speaking directly before Mrs May at a summit in Birmingham, told her: “If we make the right decisions, this could be the best of times. If we make the wrong ones, they could be the worst of times. ”We are absolutely firmly committed to the UK, it’s our home. But a hard Brexit will cost Jaguar Land Rover more than £1.2bn a year – it’s horrifying, wiping our profit.”

In response, Sir Bernard Jenkins, a member of the Eurosceptic European Research Group, told the BBC: “I’m afraid I think he’s making it up.

“We’ve had figures made up all the time by the scaremongers in this debate and I’m afraid nobody believes them.”

Sir Bernard’s comments were described as “embarrassing” by pro-Remain Tory MP Anna Soubry: “The Conservative Party is the party of business. I’m backing Raif (sic) Speth & all the other business leaders & trade unions who are being honest about the disaster of a ‘no-deal’ hard Brexit & are increasingly backing a peoples vote.”

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