BMW Will Shut Down UK Factories If Brexit Disrupts Supply Chain

BMW said that it will have to shut down its UK factories if Brexit disrupts its ability to import components quickly and reliably from mainland Europe.

“We always said we can do our best and prepare everything, but if at the end of the day the supply chain will have a stop at the border, then we cannot produce our products in the UK,” BMW customs manager Stephan Freismuth said to Financial Times.

This is BMW’s starkest statement yet over the future of its UK operations, which include four manufacturing facilities: the Mini factory in Oxford, the Rolls Royce factory in Goodwood, an engine plant in Hams Hall and a metal pressing facility in Swindon. BMW’s UK facilities employ more than 7,000 people.

BMW’s warning shot comes just days after Airbus said it would be forced to leave UK if Brexit will render its operations noncompetitive.

More than 80 percent of Minis and 90 percent of Rolls Royce cars are exported, while the Hams Hall engine factory sends engines to BMW factories in Germany. Around 90 percent of the parts used by BMW’s British plants are imported from mainland Europe, with the German company having already warned about the repercussions of a hard Brexit.

Car factories are using ‘just in time’ manufacturing methods, meaning having parts arriving on the site only hours before needed on assembly lines, in order to minimize stockpiling components and to keep costs down.

Freismuth added that BMW was striving to find ways around the issues posed by the country’s exit from the European Union. “We don’t want to give up our UK plants”, he said.

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  • Eh, it’s probably just a threat, in the end the Tories will cut them a deal for the plant to stay, it seems British government let itself being milked from corporations.

    • Philip George

      If they cut them a deal, they’ll have to cut all the car makers, in fact, they’d have to cut all car makers, industries, businesses etc., and that would most certainly include heavy tax breaks for years, perhaps decades, and even complete leeway to hire-and-fire without government interference, and reduction on quality control in order to maintain a grip on costs. Wouldn’t this mean that there’ll then be even fewer jobs, and the companies will then pay less tax at a time the government’s treasury is already borrowing at all time high and would need to raise taxes? This indicates its the working people who will face increased taxes, higher bills, lower returns on savings, poorly performing pensions, lower salaries as there’ll be more people available to do fewer jobs, higher prices for goods, and lower quality of goods produced as a result of reductions in quality control in order to cut costs. A lot of people are screaming they want Brexit but they clearly haven’t done enough calculation as to what it would cost them. I have a German passport and my grandmother actually reside there, so that takes care of that, just in case what I think will happen actually does happen.

  • danno

    Sounds like some whining to me, BMW, you are better than that…I think

  • rover10

    Well, BMW should get and lobby the German Government to get the right deal for both BMW and the UK. Moving out of the UK will cost the company millions and lost uk sales to boot. If other EU companies decide to move out of the UK, the costs could cripple some to the point of bankruptcy?

  • botornot387

    anybody who didn’t see this coming is oblivious to how a world economy works. And after having globalized the economy for the last century, its too late to go back. These companies are not people and they aren’t bound nationalism, they are bound by the almighty dollar. The writing was on the wall before the exit!

  • BernardP

    Classic scare tactics of the well-entrenched and big business interests. It’s been done countless times before, especially each time the “populace” has tried to rock the boat. Airbus just said about the same thing last week. Who will it be next week?

  • SteersUright

    In the end Brexit will be nothing more than a symbolic move. The UK will continue to unofficially be part of the EU as its too baked into their ecosystem already and no government will put their economy in prolonged dire straights to prove a point. Money, aka “the super rich” run this world and when it isnt flowing into their bank accounts as fast as they like, the effect of whatever popular movement will fade.
    Brexit, as a unilateral expression of rebellion was immature and certainly wasn’t the right move. An alliance to curtail Germany’s unfair trade advantages and overreach would’ve been far more effective and less painful for the UK and the whole of Europe.

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