German car maker BMW has warned that production of its iconic Mini could be moved out of Britain if it leaves the EU without a deal.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, who sits on the company board and is responsible for Mini and Rolls-Royce cars, told Sky News that the car giant would "need to consider" a production move of the model from its plant in Cowley, Oxford, in the face of extra costs.
He said a no-deal Brexit, in which the UK would crash out of the EU and default to trade terms set by the World Trade Organisation, would be a a "huge burden to the Mini brand".
If this would come – the worst case scenario… we would need to consider what it exactly means for us on the long run. "For Mini this is really a danger. No doubt about that."
Schwarzenbauer also told Reuters that the production of some of its engines could be moved to Austria in the event of no deal.
A spokesperson for BMW said: "As a major employer, exporter and investor, the BMW Group remains committed to the UK. With four plants producing vehicles, components and pressed parts for all three of our automotive brands, the UK also plays an important role in the BMW Group’s production network.
"Until we have clarity on the UK / EU trading relationship from April onwards, as a responsible employer we must continue to plan for the worst-case scenario, which is what a no-deal Brexit would represent.
"Our production system is designed to be highly flexible, so that we can respond quickly to changing market demand. This is especially important in a volatile, fast-changing environment.
"We are currently going to great lengths to prepare our production network for the impact of Brexit. The aim is to ensure, as far as possible, that the locations concerned can continue production after Brexit without unnecessary disruption. This process requires considerable effort on our part."
Last year BMW said it would moved its annual summer shutdown to this April, coinciding with Brexit to minimise the risk of any “short-term parts-supply” disruption in the event of a no-deal.
“As a responsible organisation, we have scheduled next year’s annual maintenance period at Mini Plant Oxford to start on 1 April, when the UK exits the EU, to minimise the risk of any possible short-term parts-supply disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit," it said at the time.
Meanwhile, the head of Toyota's European operations said a no-deal Brexit could put future investment at its UK factory near Derby at risk.
Johan van Zyl told the BBC that if the Brexit "hurdles" were too high it would undermine Toyota's competitiveness, which he said constantly needed to be improved.
"If the hurdles are becoming so high that you cannot achieve it then of course you can't avoid it [hitting investment], he said.
He added that the next few weeks would be "critical" as the company has poured £240m into investment in a new Corolla.
The warning from BMW and Toyota will compound to car industry woes, which is already battling with Nissan's decision to shift production of its X-Trail model from Sunderland to Japan. While the company did not specifically blame Brexit for the decision, it said that "continued uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future".
Shortly after Honda announced it would be closing its plant in Swindon, with the loss of about 3,500 jobs.