BMW moves annual shutdown to guard against Brexit disruption

BMW says it is scheduling a weeks-long shutdown of its Mini plant in England to coincide with Brexit as insurance against supply hiccups from a disorderly British departure from the European Union.

The German automaker says annual maintenance at its Cowley factory will begin April 1 — the first working day after Brexit on March 29 — and last several weeks. The shutdown usually takes place in summer.

BMW said Tuesday that it had made the decision "to minimize the risk of any possible short-term parts-supply disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit."

The company said it considered that "worst-case scenario" unlikely, but added "we have to plan for it."

Britain and the EU have not yet finalized their divorce agreement, stirring fears among businesses of disruption to trade.