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Electric Mini production to begin at UK plant in late 2019

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Electric Mini production to begin at UK plant in late 2019
The BMW logo is seen on a car in Nice, France, April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard   -   Copyright  ERIC GAILLARD(Reuters)
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OXFORD, England (Reuters) – BMW <BMWG.DE> will begin building its new electric Mini at its British factory from late 2019, with the first vehicles reaching customers from spring next year, the German carmaker said on Tuesday.

“The Mini Electric will kick off our new model offensive for fully electric vehicles,” said Oliver Zipse, the firm’s production chief who, according to sources, is the frontrunner to become BMW’s new chief executive.

“By 2023, two years ahead of schedule, we will have 25 electrified models on the market. More than half of them will be fully electric,” he said.

Output of the new Mini could come at about the same time as a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31 if Britain leaves the European Union without an agreement, leading to potential tariffs, additional bureaucracy and disruption to production.

BMW built just over 230,000 cars at its southern English Oxford plant last year, accounting for 15 percent of Britain’s total automotive output.

The firm has previously warned that it could move some production of engines and vehicles out of Britain if there is a disorderly Brexit, an option neither Boris Johnson nor Jeremy Hunt, the two candidate vying to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, have ruled out.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Michael Holden)

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