BMW has said piecemeal delays to Brexit “would not be good” for the carmaker, spelling more uncertainty for its four UK plants.

Andreas Wendt, a BMW board member and purchasing chief, said in an interview with the German industry journal Automobilwoche that a stop-start approach would add unwelcome disruption to its manufacturing in Britain.

“A start date [for Brexit] delayed a little at a time would not be a good scenario for us,” he said.

The company has already prepared extensively for its operations in the UK on the basis of Brexit happening on 29 March, with plants including its Mini factory in Oxford closing for the month of April for maintenance the carmaker would normally conduct in July.

“That gives us scope for an orderly transition,” he told the magazine, in an interview published hours before May revealed her latest Brexit approach in a House of Commons statement.

But he added that a “no-deal Brexit” would “adversely affect” its business.

There has been a lukewarm reaction from elsewhere in the business community to the prime minister’s commitment to hold two votes, on a no-deal Brexit and a delay.

Business leaders said that while the capitulation on the possibility of an extension of article 50 was a step in the right direction, it was no substitute for the urgently needed concrete deal.

Edwin Morgan, the interim director general of the Institute of Directors, said nearly 80% of its members would choose to avoid a no-deal outcome, but they could not even prepare for that outcome.

“Too much information about that scenario is still missing – including from our own government – for firms to be ready in a few short weeks,” he said.

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He said a continuation of the impasse would not be comfortable for businesses, but a “disorderly exit” would bring “unbearable disruption”.

Claire Walker, a co-executive director at the British Chambers of Commerce, described May’s capitulation on a possible extension to article 50 as “a giant political leap” but “only a small step towards the clarity and precision that businesses need to chart their future direction”.



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