Brexit: BMW follows Airbus in warning of cut to UK operations | News | DW | 23.06.2018
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Brexit: BMW follows Airbus in warning of cut to UK operations

German car giant BMW has urged clarity from the UK government on post-Brexit trade with the EU before the end of the summer. Earlier this week, Airbus warned it could pull out of Britain altogether.

BMW, which manufactures the iconic Mini and Rolls Royce cars, on Friday called on the British government to declare its preferred position on trade and customs with the European Union once it leaves the bloc.

The German carmaker's special representative in the UK, Ian Robertson, said the company needed clarity by the end of the summer.

"If we don't get clarity in the next couple of months we have to start making those contingency plans ... effectively making the UK automotive industry less competitive than it is in a very competitive world right now," he told the BBC.

Read more: Brexit: UK lawmakers reject greater say for final deal vote

Unnecessary costs

He said the contingency plans could include having to invest money in systems or warehouses that the firm may not need long-term.

BMW employs about 8,000 people in the UK.

Last year, the firm said, that despite Brexit, it would produce a fully electric version of the Mini at its UK factory, near the city of Oxford.

The carmaker builds another quintessentially British car, the Rolls Royce, at a facility in Goodwood, West Sussex.

But BMW's chairman Harald Krüger has also made it clear that production could be moved to the Netherlands in the event of a hard Brexit — a scenario where Britain would leave the EU without a comprehensive trade and customs deal.

Read more: Dutch judges dismiss UK expats' post-Brexit rights case

Airbus may quit UK

The German firm joins the European aerospace company Airbus, which warned this week it could pull out of Britain completely if it crashes out of the EU without a deal.

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Airbus threatens to leave UK

Airbus said a 'no deal' scenario would be "catastrophic" for the firm, which builds wings and landing gear for commercial aircraft in Britain, and also has a space technology center in the country.

Airbus employs nearly 15,000 staff at its British facilities.

Britain intends to leave the EU's single market and customs union to forge its own independent trade policy and end free movement of labor.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has not ruled out the possibility of the UK walking away from a deal as a negotiating tactic, but says she expects to get a deal before it exits the bloc on March 29 next year.

A post-Brexit transition period has been agreed until December 2020 to forge a new economic deal the other 27 countries in the bloc. But Airbus said this was "too short" a time.

mm/rc (AFP, dpa)

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