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BMW to shut UK plant for at least a month on day of Brexit

Staff Writer |
German car maker BMW on Tuesday brought a planned shutdown of its Oxford plant forward to begin on the same day the UK leaves the EU in a bid to minimise the potential disruption a possible no-deal Brexit would create.

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BMW said in a statement that it would move the shutdown, which will last several weeks, to coincide with Brexit, scheduled for March 29 next year, in order to minimise any disruption risks in the event that no exit deal is agreed.

"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," the statement said.

"While we believe this worst case scenario is an unlikely outcome, we have to plan for it," it said.

The Oxford plant is the site where the Mini is produced.

"Planned annual maintenance periods at BMW Group production sites allow essential updating and equipment replacement to be completed over several weeks, while there is no production taking place," a BMW spokesperson said.

BMW said its summer maintenance shutdown had been brought forward to April 1 to reduce any "possible short-term parts-supply disruption."

"While we believe this worst case scenario is an unlikely outcome, we have to plan for it," BMW said.

The car maker said it "remained committed" to its UK operations.

BMW's announcement came amid several warnings from across the UK motor industry about the threat posed by a departure from the EU without an agreement in place.

Honda said on Tuesday that a no-deal Brexit would cost it tens of millions of pounds.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Jaguar Land Rover announced that it was moving workers at its Castle Bromwich plant to a three-day week because of "continuing headwinds impacting the car industry."

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