MINI Plant OxfordBMW has written to its UK staff warning to warn them a vote for Britain to leave the EU would increase the firm’s costs and could impact the company’s UK employment base.

The letter has been sent to all BMW Group workers, including MINI and Rolls-Royce employees, because the company says it wants to inform staff of the risks.

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BMW Group has denied it’s trying to influence the Brexit vote: staff have asked for the company to clarify BMW’s position, a spokesman told The Guardian, which is why it’s set out its thoughts in detail.

BMW builds more than 300,000 MINIs in the UK each year, and more than half of them are exported to Europe. Virtually all the engines it builds here are exported to Europe too: the company in recent years has invested heavily in its UK operations.

“Free trade is important for international business,” said Torsten Muller-Otvos, Rolls-Royce CEO. “Tariff barriers would mean higher costs and higher prices, and we can not assume that the UK would be granted free trade with Europe from outside the EU.”

The letters added that Britain would still be bound by EU regulations whatever the result of the Brexit vote.

“We believe it’s much better to be sat at the table when regulations are set and have a hand in their creation, rather than simply having to accept them.”