BMW is to move the production of electric Minis from the United Kingdom to China before the end of next year.
The German auto giant makes 40,000 electric Minis a year at its Cowley plant in Oxford, while the production will end next year as part of plans to reshape the carmaker's line-up from 2024, the Times reported.
Its joint venture with Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motors, Spotlight Automotive, is to take over the future production of electric Mini at a new plant in Jiangsu Province while also producing the next generation zero-emission Mini Aceman.
Stefanie Wurst, the new head of Mini, said the decision to halt the electric Mini assembly in the UK was not linked to post-Brexit supply constraints and cross-border friction with the EU, or the lack of a nearby gigafactory, but because the Cowley plant was running inefficiently by having to produce electric and petrol cars on the same line.
But she stated that "Oxford will always be the home of Mini."
The BMW Group sold more than 2.251 million vehicles worldwide in 2021, up 8.4 percent year on year, according to its earnings release.
Of these, new-energy vehicles, including battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, contributed the most incremental volume, with the automaker selling more than 328,000 new energy models worldwide in 2021, up 70.4 percent from a year earlier.
Mini Electric, the sub-brand with the largest gain, posted sales surging by more than 98 percent year on year in 2021.
In China, BMW and Mini brands delivered over 846,000 new vehicles in 2021, up 8.9 percent year on year. The growth trend also continued in the subsequent period, as the group delivered more than 592,000 BMW and MINI vehicles to the Chinese market in the first three quarters of 2022, with sales of all-electric models increasing by 65 percent year on year in the period.