Exclusive - BMW favours Oxford as place to build electric Mini: sources

An employee works on a 2013 Mini at BMW's plant in Oxford, southern England November 18, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

By Irene Preisinger and Edward Taylor

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - BMW's Oxford factory is currently the favoured location for building an electric version of the Mini, two sources familiar with the company's thinking told Reuters on Wednesday.

Mini makes around 70 percent of its approximately 360,000 compact cars at the plant in Oxford, England, but BMW has built up an alternative manufacturing base in the Netherlands amid concerns about Britain's suitability as an export hub following its exit from the European Union.

BMW has sunk billions into the Mini brand and into British production sites.

"If Mini became a fully electric brand in the long run, and Oxford only knew how to build combustion-engine variants, the plant would lose its relevance," one of the sources said.

Asked whether the electric Mini is set to be built in Britain, a BMW spokeswoman said: "A final decision has not been taken."

BMW has said it has several choices about where to build the vehicle, including at a plant operated by VDL Nedcar in Born, Netherlands, where a plug-in hybrid version of the Mini is already being built, or a plant in Regensburg, Germany.

(Editing by Georgina Prodhan)