Peter Schwarzenbauer says UK production not essential to brand

Peter Schwarzenbauer

Developing in Britain is not necessary to BMW’s Mini brand as a lot of consumers do not know where the compact cars are developed and its brand-new electric model could be made elsewhere, the brand’s manager informed Reuters on Tuesday.

Peter Schwarzenbauer stated the German automaker would choose by the end of this year whether to construct the brand-new electric model at an existing site in Britain or the Netherlands, or whether to select another place.

The BMW board member stated the possibility of post Brexit tariffs was only one point … when you have to decide where to produce a vehicle and the first question was where the model would be primarily offered.

However asked whether it really mattered to British or foreign buyers that the Mini, sometimes offered with the image of the union flag on the roofing system, is made in Britain, Schwarzenbauer stated: “No.”

“The brand being perceived as British, that is very important but this does not indicate necessarily that you need to produce it (in Britain).

“Many people don’t know where the vehicles are produced,” he stated.

Mini develops about 70 percent of its 360,000 cars at its southern English Oxford plant however there are concerns that uncertainty over Britain’s future trading relationship with the EU might injure the UK car industry, reliant on tariff-free trade.

Prime Minister Theresa May has stated Britain will leave the EU’s single market and might also leave the customs union but she would look to preserve the best possible access to the EU, the British vehicle sector’s biggest export market.

Schwarzenbauer has noted elections in the Netherlands, where nationalist leader Geert Wilders is neck-and-neck with the Conservative prime minister ahead of surveys next week, but told politics was only one reason in the decision-making procedure.

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