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BMW to pause UK output of Minis after Brexit
[LONDON] BMW will stop production at its Mini factory in Oxford for several weeks to avoid supply disruption in case of a no-deal Brexit, the German auto giant said Tuesday.
The carmaker will bring forward its annual maintenance shutdown at the facility in southern England to start on Monday April 1, 2019.
Britain is to leave the European Union on Friday March 29 - but trade talks have stalled between Brussels and London, stoking concerns over a so-called hard Brexit.
"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," BMW said in a brief statement released to the media.
The company added that the move was in order "to minimise the risk of any possible short-term parts-supply disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit".
"While we believe this worst case scenario is an unlikely outcome, we have to plan for it."
The nation's largely foreign-owned car industry has repeatedly warned that a hard Brexit would hurt investment and ramp up costs.
The maintenance works would meanwhile allow for essential updating and equipment replacement while there is no production taking place.
"We remain committed to our operations in Britain," the company added.
Britain is the only country in which the German group has production sites for all three of its automotive brands which comprise BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce.