Britain's impending exit from the European Union has manufacturers preparing for the worst-case scenario.
Both BMW Group and PSA Group have put operations on hold at their UK manufacturing plants, as they prepare for disruptions from Brexit.
According to the Oxford Mail, the Mini factory in Cowley will be put on hold for four weeks. It was initially meant to kick off when Brexit took place on March 29, but Britain is still a part of the European Union as of April 6.
The current departure date is April 12, although that's also subject to change. Regardless, the Mini Spring Maintenance shutdown is now underway, and will continue until April 29.
"This is what our company and our workforce have planned for over many months and it is fixed into our business planning," a BMW spokesman told Automotive News.
The move was designed to minimise any parts supply disruption in the event of a 'no-deal' escape from the European Union – BMW Group has actually talked about moving Mini manufacturing to Holland. Those kitschy Union Jack taillights wouldn't be quite as much fun if they were made in Utrecht, would they?
The plant is Oxford's largest employer.
PSA, meanwhile, has brought forward its shutdown at the Ellesmere Port factory near Liverpool, where it builds the Opel/Vauxhall Astra – including the Australian-market Astra Sportwagon.
Although the exact details aren't clear, there are a number of risks for carmakers manufacturing vehicles in the UK if we see a no-deal Brexit. Delays at the ports, added layers of complexity with customs, the potential need to re-certify certain cars, and tariffs up to 10 per cent are all on the cards.