New China-Made MINI EV To Be Among Hardest Hit By EU Tariffs

The new all-electric MINI is currently produced in China from a joint venture between BMW and Great Wall Motor. 

When news of the EU imposing tariffs on Chinese-made EVs first broke late last week, among the most vocal critics of this new policy was interestingly enough to be the European automakers. Though this is likely because these car companies have themselves been shifting their own manufacturing to China, with them currently finding themselves facing the same high duty rates on some of their own cars too. 

And perhaps in the most ironic twist of fates here given the Brexit debacle, among the hardest to be hit by these new proposed EU tariffs is to be that most legendary of British cars — the MINI. Such is as the latest all-electric version of this hatchback at least is currently only being churned out in China, and it is currently looking likely to face the highest possible duty rate of 38.1% when eventually sold to European buyers. 

Now delving into a little bit more detail regarding how MINI found themselves in this predicament, this all-electric hatchback was the product of a collaboration between BMW (the current parent company of MINI) and Great Wall Motor. Under the new joint venture company dubbed Spotlight Automotive, began producing these new EV MINIs in its Jiangsu factory back in late 2023. 

That production timing however proved to be just a little too late for MINI to adequately fulfil the European Commission’s survey, to the level of detail required to be classed as a company cooperating with the tariff investigation. This thus at least according to the current duty structure set, will see the automaker’s Chinese-made EVs be taxed at the maximum 38.1% rate. 

Companies seen as cooperating with the EU were subject to lower tariffs of 17.4%-21%, according to the rate structure set by the European Commission. This includes BMW Brilliance Automotive, another BMW joint venture that has produced the all-electric iX3 for export to Europe from China since 2021.

A 38.1% price hike on the all-electric MINI would of course seriously put a dent in the sales of this rather popular hatchback in Europe. MINI’s Oxford Plant in the UK is set to only begin production of this EV come in 2026. 

The deadline for imposing provisional measures is July 4th, after which the investigation will continue to late October. That thus leaves time for Beijing and Brussels to potentially hash out a deal to soften the blow, with the automakers themselves being able to submit comments and request hearings after the provisional duties are applied.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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