FRANKFURT, March 22 BMW's X1 model
will be built in the Netherlands, it said on Wednesday, boosting
staff levels at Mini's contract manufacturer VDL Nedcar beyond
those at the German carmaker's plant in Oxford, England, where
the Mini hatch is made.
Harald Krueger, BMW's Chief Executive, said on Tuesday that
more production could move to the Netherlands depending on the
outcome of Britain's negotiations to leave the European Union.
BMW has 4,600 staff working in Oxford, while VDL currently
employs 4,500 staff. Both plants produce the Mini. Adding
production of the X1 in August will boost Dutch staff numbers to
more than 5,000, marking a sharp rise from only 1,500 in 2012.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said this week she will
trigger EU divorce proceedings on March 29 and Krueger's comment
comes as BMW decides where to build an electric Mini this year.
"The UK remains an important location for us. Much will
depend on how Brexit is ultimately negotiated. At the BMW Group,
we are preparing for different scenarios. Our production network
offers us flexibility," Krueger said at the company's annual
While Oxford still builds more cars, having produced 210,971
vehicles last year compared with 87,609 cars made by VDL in the
same period, the Dutch plant at Born could produce up to 200,000
if it operated a two shift system.
BMW is deciding where to make an electric version of its
Mini this year, with factories in England, the Netherlands and
Germany vying for the business.
VDL said it started making a plug-in hybrid version of the
Mini countryman this month, adding some electric vehicle
expertise to its production site, which already makes the Mini
3-door, the Mini Convertible and the Mini Countryman
BMW said the electric motors installed in the Mini
Countryman are supplied from BMW's factory in Dingolfing,
VDL said it won the contract to build the X1 because extra
capacity was needed to supplement the BMW plant in Regensburg.
Because the X1 and the Mini are both based on BMW's UKL
platform, production of the X1 could theoretically have been
shifted to Oxford, BMW executives have said.
(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Alexander Smith)