Minis are also built by a contract manufacturer at plant in Born, in the Netherlands, which already produces a plug-in hybrid version on the car, and there are fears that this site – or a new one in Regensburg, Germany – could secure Mini E production.
An electric Mini is expected to be a huge seller and there have been concerns for the future of the 4,500 Mini staff in Oxford if the UK were to miss out on the work.
A decision to produce the new car in the UK would be a huge vote of confidence in Britain’s automotive industry in the wake of the vote to leave the EU, with it set to be the largest investment since Nissan confirmed last autumn it would build two new models in Sunderland.
Car manufacturers have warned of rising costs in the event of tariffs on imports and exports if a free trade deal cannot be secured, and the prospect of investment being diverted abroad. About 80pc of the 1.7m cars built in Britain each year are exported, mainly to the EU.