BMW has announced its plan to build future MINI electric vehicles in the UK instead of China to avoid 25% tariffs on Chinese-made electric vehicles for sale in the US. This decision will provide an authentic MINI experience and ensure the brand’s continued presence in the US market.
In November 2019, BMW announced a partnership with Great Wall Motor to build a new factory in China to produce electric MINIs. The plant would have a capacity of up to 160,000 vehicles per year and employ around 3,000 workers. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plans had to be adjusted.
Initially, BMW stated that the MINI factory in Oxford would remain MINI’s production center. However, it appeared that the company is considering moving most or all of its production to China, which poses problems for U.S. sales due to high tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles.
To address this issue, BMW has announced a new investment of more than £600 million in MINI factories in Oxford and Swindon, UK. The Oxford plant will produce two new fully electric MINI models from 2026, with production to be exclusively electric until 2030. This investment not only secures jobs at the factory, but also at the body molding plant in Swindon.
Although some models will continue to be produced in China, such as the two-door MINI and Aceman, the decision to prioritize UK production of models that are likely to be most popular in the US market will ensure that those sold in the US MINIs are authentic and authentically made in the UK. Despite the higher costs associated with this approach, BMW considers maintaining its presence in the US market a high priority.
BMW’s continued investment in manufacturing in the UK demonstrates that the country is establishing itself as an automotive manufacturing hub of the future, supporting economic growth and securing jobs in the automotive industry.