MINI E electric car used in vehicle-to-grid test. Photo by University of Delaware/Evan Krape
Mini, despite being owned by BMW since 1994, has long been a decidedly British brand.
But its British roots may be overlooked as a decision on where Mini’s electric car is to be built closes in.
Most Mini production takes place at the brand’s Oxford plant in England, but both supply-chain factors and Brexit may sway BMW board members into producing the electric Mini elsewhere.
Reuters reports Mini and BMW will decide by September on a production location for the electric car.
About 70 percent of Mini production remains in England today, while plants in the Netherlands and Germany fill the additional 30 percent.
The report states the Dutch and German plants are being given a closer look in the wake of Britain’s “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union and the potential tax regimes that could result.
MINI E electric cars used in vehicle-to-grid test. Photo by University of Delaware/Evan Krape
Automakers, in general, are worried about the potential effects Britain’s EU exit will have, which may include both tariffs and new taxes.
Today, Britain is included in the unrestricted movement of goods and services—free trade—among all EU member countries.
“If you made the motor in a German plant, and you then assembled the car in a British plant, and you took the cars back to the German market,” Ian Robertson, the firm’s board member for sales, said, “then the duty that you would pay would be reclaimed.”
It’s one example of the many options Mini and BMW are discussing to minimize the effect of tariffs and taxes that aren’t yet known—and may not be for a year or more.
Modern-day MINI assembly at MINI Plant Oxford, England, Mar 2013 (the plant’s 100th birthday)
The investment to produce the electric Mini is likely to be worth tens of millions of pounds.
Mini’s parent company, BMW, is also preparing to launch a new onslaught of electric cars.
An electric 3-Series is slated to debut this fall as a Tesla Model 3 rival, and an electric X3e will arrive to replace the now-defunct plans for a BMW i5.
Whether Mini buyers at large really care about where a future electric Mini is built, however, remains to be determined. They may not.