BMW to build electric mini in Oxford

BMW announced on Tuesday its intention to build a fully electric version of the Mini at the Cowley plant in Oxford. This follows warnings in May from the company’s chief executive Harold Krueger that the company will have to remain “flexible” regarding production facilities due to Brexit uncertainties.

Whilst Oxford will be the main production location for the electric Mini, the electric motor will be built in Germany before being transported to Cowley for assembly. Production of the three-door model is scheduled to go ahead in 2019.

More than 60% of the 360,000 Minis that are made each year are built at Oxford. However, concerns regarding exporting from Britain post-Brexit have meant BMW has built up an alternative manufacturing base in the Netherlands. The car-manufacturer has said it had “neither sought nor received” any reassurance from the UK government on arrangements after Brexit.

More than 60% of the 360,000 Minis that are made each year are built at Oxford

Greg Clark, the UK Business Secretary, praised BMW’s decision, calling it a “vote of confidence” in the government’s ability to make Britain “the go-to place in the world for the next generation of vehicles”. Mr Clark has held a series of meetings with Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales and marketing, throughout the year.

The government was questioned last year about the “support and assurances” given to Nissan before the company announced that new versions of its Qashqai and X-Trail would be made in the UK. Toyota also reportedly agreed to invest in the UK after receiving reassurances over post-Brexit trading arrangements.

Recent months have seen a boost to electric car development. Monday saw news of government funding worth £246 million for research into the electrification of cars and battery technology, and earlier this month, Volvo announced that all new models from 2019 would have an electric motor, becoming the first traditional carmaker to make such a commitment.