BMW shares are lower Tuesday after the German car maker said it could shut its UK plants and exit the country if Brexit affects its supply-chain. Speaking to the FT, BMW’s customs manager said they are committed to continuing to manufacture cars in the UK, but if importing parts becomes too difficult then it could shift its manufacturing processes elsewhere.
By 1035 BST, BMW shares were 1.36% lower at €77.78. The stock has been moving lower, in line with other European auto stocks as the US-China tariff war develops.
BMW’s Brexit worries
In the interview with the FT, BMW customs manager Stephen Freismuth made it clear that even though the company is currently committed to remaining in the UK, outside forces might disrupt that plan.
“We have invested significantly in the UK and we are committed to our manufacturing facilities here,” Freismuth said.
“On the other hand, Brexit does represent a significant challenge. It is one we are determined to face,” he added.
“We always said we can do our best and prepare everything, but if at the end of the day the supply chain will have a stop at the border, then we cannot produce our products in the UK,” Freismuth told the paper.
BMW currently employs around 8,000 staff to manufacture the Rolls Royce and Mini brands in the UK.
Businesses growing concerns over Brexit
The interview from a BMW executive follow hot on the heels of comments from the carmaker that more clarity on Brexit is needed for businesses.
“If we don't get clarity in the next couple of months we have to start making those contingency plans… which means making the UK less competitive than it is in a very competitive world right now,” BMW’s UK head, Ian Robertson told the BBC last week.
“That is a decisive issue that ultimately could damage this industry,” Robertson added.
And, European plane maker Airbus has also said that if the UK Brexit’s with no deal, then this wouldn’t be good for its operations in the country.