FRANKFURT -- Uncertainty about post-Brexit tariffs makes it harder for BMW to choose Britain as a production hub for an electric Mini, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.
The source said BMW would review potential production locations in Germany, Britain and the Netherlands for manufacturing a battery-powered version Mini. Conventionally powered Minis are produced in Oxford, England, and in Born in the Netherlands.
BMW confirmed that a decision about an electric Mini is due this year, but declined to say where the vehicle would be made.
"We always consider a wide range of factors to make sure we choose the most appropriate location in each case," a spokeswoman for BMW said, adding that factors such as the availability of qualified staff and a capable supplier base were key determinants.
BMW reiterated that Britain's exit from the European Union had made long-term planning more difficult for the group. "The Brexit vote creates uncertainty for the automotive sector and uncertainty is not helpful when it comes to making long-term business decisions," BMW said.
It added that it was too early to comment on what Brexit would mean for business given that formal negotiations between the UK and the EU have not even begun. "What’s important for us is that the UK's negotiations with the EU result in uncomplicated, tariff-free access to the EU single market in future," BMW said.
German daily Handelsblatt had reported on Sunday that BMW may build the Mini EV at its German production sites in Regensburg and Leipzig, citing company sources. Production at Netherlands-based contract manufacturer Nedcar could also be an option, the paper said.
BMW said in October that Mini will launch an EV in 2019 as part of a broader push to make electric cars more mainstream. The automaker was reconsidering its plans to build the EV at its home factory in Oxford due to the uncertainty about future tariffs after the UK voted to quit the EU, Automobil Produktion reported in January.