BMW may shift production from UK to Austria in event of no deal Brexit

Thursday 7 March 2019 5:05 AM UTC

LONDON March 7: BMW may move some of its engine production from the UK to Austria in the event of a no-deal Brexit, one of its board members revealed on Tuesday. “We have some flexibility on the engine side with Steyr in Austria.

We would need to make some adjustments toward Steyr. We are preparing to be able to do it. Like we are preparing warehouses in the UK to produce cars,” Peter Shwarzenbauer told Reuters at the Geneva car show.

The car maker has previously announced plans to bring a planned shutdown of its Oxford plant forward to begin on the same day the UK leaves the EU. The Oxford factory is the site where the Mini is produced.

Related: Brexit in-depth: All the latest news, analysis and expert opinion

The group also has plants at Hams Hall, Goodwood and Swindon, and a sales and marketing subsidiary in Farnborough.

The German brand employs 8,000 people directly in the UK, and supports around 14,000 more jobs through retail networks.

BMW is one of many manufacturers to make a start on contingency plans in an effort to reduce the potential disruption a hard Brexit could bring.

Jaguar Land Rover announced last year that it was moving workers at its Castle Bromwich plant to a three-day week because of “continuing headwinds impacting the car industry”, and its chief executive has warned repeatedly of the risks Brexit poses to the sector.

Last month, Honda announced that it plans to close its Swindon plant, putting 3,500 jobs at risk.

Meanwhile, the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed UK car exports slumped by one-fifth and production fell for an eighth successive month in January.

The trade body said this was evidence of the “clear and present danger” of a no-deal Brexit.

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