BMW U-turns on plans to move electric Mini production from UK to China | BMW

BMW will unveil a significant investment in its electric Mini plant in Oxford on Monday, a move that will secure 4,000 jobs and strengthen the UK’s electric vehicle supply chain.

The investment by the German carmaker is the result of “extensive” engagement with the UK government, according to the business and trade department, and marks a reversal of plans to move electric Mini production abroad to China.

The plans to move production overseas – revealed last year – were seen as a blow to the UK’s ambitions to become a leader in global electric car manufacturing, and followed Honda’s decision to quit the UK in 2019.

The U-turn was hailed by government ministers including the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, who said BMW’s investment was “a huge vote of confidence in this country as a global leader in electric vehicles”.

Hunt said: “This industry is motoring, creating thousands of jobs and powering our green transition.”

The government said BMW’s move represented a “multimillion-pound investment” but did not disclose a figure. The carmaker is expected to provide further details on the investment, including the total sum, later on Monday.

The business and trade secretary, Kemi Badenoch, was due to visit Oxford on Monday for the formal announcement, which the government said would take investment in the UK automotive sector to more than £6bn over the past two years.

The move represents the latest upturn in the outlook for Britain’s electric vehicle industry, which faced uncertainty with battery supplies and post-Brexit tariffs.

The Vauxhall and Peugeot maker Stellantis last week began to produce electric vehicles (EV) at its factory in Ellesmere Port, after a £100m investment that made the site its first to be dedicated solely to EVs.

The announcement also follows a £4bn investment from Tata to build a gigafactory in the UK supplying electric batteries, as well as £1bn from Nissan and AESC to create an EV manufacturing hub in Sunderland.

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The US carmaker Ford has poured £380m into its Halewood site, which will become the company’s first EV components facility in Europe.

Rishi Sunak said BMW’s investment was “another shining example of how the UK is the best place to build cars of the future”.

BMW declined to comment.

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