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BMW Imported Thousands Of Mini Coopers Into The US With Banned Parts

Key Takeaways

  • BMW and other automakers imported vehicles with banned parts from China.
  • The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act focuses on enforcing laws that prevent importing banned products.
  • BMW, JLR, Volkswagen, and Volvo were found to have received these parts.

A new report from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden has unveiled that BMW imported at least 8,000 Mini Coopers with banned parts from China. Three other automakers were found to have received similar parts for their vehicles. The parts were banned because they come from the Xinjiang region of China, which is found to have the government-sanctioned use of forced labor.

BMW

BMW is a German luxury car and motorbike manufacturer and current owner of Mini, Rolls-Royce, and Alpina. With roots dating back to 1913 as Rapp Motorenwerke, it officially became Bayerische Motoren Werke in 1922 as a manufacturer of aircraft engines. BMW’s first car was built in 1928 when it built the Austin 7 under license from Dixi, which was called the BMW 3/15. BMW grew into a manufacturer of premium and luxury automobiles, launching iconic nameplates like the 3 Series, 5 Series, and 7 Series, and is today known as one of the leading luxury automakers in the world, while the BMW M division is hailed as a leading manufacturer of performance cars.

Founded

1916

Founder

Karl Rapp

Headquarters

Munich, Germany

Owned By

Publicly Traded

Current CEO

Oliver Zipse

To combat this, the US government passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) in 2021 to strengthen enforcement of laws banning goods from the region. Companies were left to police the parts themselves, but the report highlights quite a few that let the parts slip through the cracks. Given the heat the Chinese auto industry has been subject to recently, this isn’t great press for the automakers.

BMW Group Headquarters
BMW

Findings From The Investigation

The investigation found that Bourns, Inc., a California-based auto supplier, had acquired the parts in question from Sichuan Jingweida Technology Group Co., Ltd. (JWD), a company added to the UFLPA Entity List in December 2023. These parts were then supplied to Lear Corp., which is a direct supplier of BMW and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). Documents say that Bourns notified Lear of the parts on January 3rd of this year, and then by January 11th the automakers were made aware of the problem.

The report then asserts that BMW and JLR denied acquiring banned parts in April, and only after further questioning did any company admit to having the parts. Volkswagen ealier disclosed that vehicles shipped to the US could include banned parts, while Volvo received the parts, but had not yet used them in production.

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“Automakers are sticking their heads in the sand and then swearing they can’t find any forced labor in their supply chains. Somehow, the Finance Committee’s oversight staff uncovered what multi-billion-dollar companies apparently could not: that BMW imported cars, Jaguar Land Rover imported parts, and VW AG manufactured cars that all included components made by a supplier banned for using Uyghur forced labor.

2025 Mini Aceman modelsParts in Question

The parts sourced were LAN transformers, which help connect cars to different networks, allowing systems like radar, vehicle-to-everything, and advanced driver systems to communicate with servers and the surrounding world. While it isn’t known 100% if these parts were created using forced labor, given the region’s track record, it’s widely assumed, which is why the parts are prohibited.

Related

Ford Calls Honda, Toyota, Tesla, And China The Enemies In UAW Strike

Bill Ford has begged the UAW to stop making enemies out of companies that support US production.

Connected vehicle systems have become a contentious issue, and reports have surfaced that new laws will be proposed by the US Government this fall that could ban the Chinese-made systems in our vehicles. Hyundai is taking early action to avoid problems over those lows so vehicles like the Ioniq 5 aren’t negatively impacted by potential legislation

Mini Cooper S side view
Mini 

Source-Senate Finance Committee

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