BMW task force prepares for worst-case scenario Brexit

Threat of no-deal Brexit sees BMW task force assembled to guard against disruption at MINI and Rolls-Royce

BMW has created a specialist task force to prepare for a worst-case Brexit scenario, one in which the UK leaves the customs union and the single market, as well as the EU, with no trade deals in place.

BMW’s Brexit task force is preparing the company for lengthy border queues and their associated supply delays, and is also considering safeguards against job losses. The company builds around 200,000 MINIs a year at its Cowley plant in Oxford, and crafts 20 Rolls-Royces a day at Goodwood in West Sussex.

Brexit has no advantages for UK carmakers, warn MPs

BMW purchasing chief Markus Duesmann said the company’s Brexit strategy prioritised : “reliable deliveries to the factories” and “safeguarding jobs”, adding: “Brexit is saddling us with a huge expense.”

Painting a picture of the company’s current supply model, Duesmann told German trade magazine Automobilwoche that: “A number of components cross the English Channel as many as four times before a vehicle is fully built and reaches dealers. With every border crossing, a customs clearance and duty will be due.”

Duesmann explained that the creation of fresh trade boundaries between the UK and the EU meant BMW would be “expecting a bottleneck at the border” and that it had to “anticipate delays in the supply chain”. The company will need “far more goods on the road” to counteract such delays and keep its UK factories running.

He went on to say: “Even if we are paying zero customs duties, we have to go through the processing at the border.” EU trade agreements mean supply trucks coming into the UK from Europe effectively pass through borders without hindrance at present, something that is likely to change following Brexit.

Duesmann also suggested jobs held at UK BMW factories by non-UK workers could present difficulties: “We have many BMW employees in the country who do not hold British citizenship. It would be hard to replace them.”

The UK car industry’s priorities for Brexit

Not all the potential effects of a hard Brexit would be negative for BMW though. Duesmann said as the company built 220,000 cars in the UK last year and sold 243,000, there was “room to manoeuvre”. While the models built and bought in the UK are different, the close sales-to-manufacturing numbers mean BMW could, in theory, make its UK operations partially self-sufficient, preventing some delays and costs tied to exporting and importing goods.

Asked if the company could switch it’s MINI plant at Oxford to produce BMWs, Duesmann said such a move “would be expensive, but it could make sense at some point”, particularly for front-wheel drive models like the BMW X1, X2 and 2 Series Active Tourer.

According to the head of Global NCAP, Brexit could make the UK a “second-hand dealer” in car safety

Recommended

New 2021 BMW iX electric SUV revealed with 376-mile range
BMW

New 2021 BMW iX electric SUV revealed with 376-mile range

The all-electric flagship BMW iX SUV boasts over 500bhp, 376 miles of range and 5G tech
11 Nov 2020
New BMW i4 set to lead charge of six new electric cars
BMW

New BMW i4 set to lead charge of six new electric cars

The new all-electric BMW i4 is set to boast a range of around 373 miles and our exclusive images preview how it could look
6 Nov 2020
BMW adds Android Auto to 750k cars in huge iDrive software update
News

BMW adds Android Auto to 750k cars in huge iDrive software update

BMW is installing the latest OS 7 operating system to its iDrive infotainment systems over-the-air, bringing new functionality to three quarters of a …
16 Oct 2020
BMW recalls multiple plug-in hybrid models
Hybrid cars

BMW recalls multiple plug-in hybrid models

BMW’s engineers have identified a problem with PHEV battery packs, which could result in a short circuit and potentially cause a fire
15 Oct 2020

Most Popular

New Suzuki Swace estate launched on UK market
News

New Suzuki Swace estate launched on UK market

Based on the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, the Suzuki Swace estate comes to the UK
11 Nov 2020
All-new Renault Kangoo van unveiled ahead of 2021 launch
Renault Kangoo ZE Concept - show pic
Renault Kangoo

All-new Renault Kangoo van unveiled ahead of 2021 launch

First images of the third-generation Renault Kangoo panel van - which will soon square-up to the new Volkswagen Caddy
12 Nov 2020
How to transfer a number plate from one car to another
MINI number plate change
Tips & advice

How to transfer a number plate from one car to another

Need to know how to transfer a number plate between vehicles? Our step-by-step guide breaks it down
22 Nov 2020