BMW has decided to move its electric Mini production from the UK to China, in what can be seen as a blow to Britain’s ambitions to become a global EV maker.
According to Stefanie Wurst – who’s been at the brand’s helm since February – Mini production was moved away from its historic home in Oxford because the Cowley plant couldn’t efficiently manufacture both the electric and the internal combustion models.
“Oxford will always be the home of Mini,” she told the Times. “[But] it’s not geared up for electric vehicles. It will need renovation and investment.”
Over a fifth of its 200,000 electric Mini are manufactured annually at Cowley, which has been the brand’s home for the last six decades.
But earlier this year, production was suspended for a week as a result of semiconductor shortages.
While EV production at the factory will cease in 2023, petrol and diesel models will still be built until the 2030s.
Electric car production is not expected to return anytime soon as Wurst said there was “no date” when asked by the Times.
BMW is the second automotive manufacturer to move its EV production away over the last few years, after Honda shut the Swindon plant to relocate manufacturing to Japan.
The move led to the loss of 3,000 jobs.
City A.M. has approached Mini for further comment.