In Brief

Why BMW is shutting down its Oxford plant for one month after Brexit

No-deal fears could spell part supply disruptions for the car firm’s Mini facility

BMW has announced plans to temporarily shut down its Oxford plant straight after Britain leaves the European Union. 

The German carmaker will close the facility, which handles the production of its Mini division, for one month from 1 April next year – three days after Brexit comes into effect, Sky News reports.

BMW says it carries out “annual maintenance periods” to allow “essential updating and equipment replacement to be completed over several weeks, while there is no production taking place.”

Although these maintenance periods usually take place in the summer, the carmaker says it plans to bring the factory’s temporary shutdown forward in order to “minimise the risk of any possible short-term parts-supply disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”

BMW adds: “While we believe this worst case scenario is an unlikely outcome, we have to plan for it.”

The car firm nonetheless insists it’s “committed to our operations in Britain, which is the only country in the world where we manufacture for all three of our automotive brands.”

The Oxford-based factory currently has a workforce of around 4,500 people and produces 5,000 cars a week, the BBC says. 

Roughly 60% of the parts handled by the factory are imported from the EU, the broadcaster says, and hundreds of lorries from around the world visit the facility on a daily basis. 

But BMW isn’t the only carmaker preparing for a no-deal Brexit. 

Workers at Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) Castle Bromwich plant have seen their hours reduced to a three-day week over “headwinds impacting the car industry”, reports Auto Express.

JLR says the move is the result of a possible no-deal Brexit and consumer confusion caused by the Government’s stance towards diesel cars.

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