Image: BMW Image: BMW

BMW has told its workers in the UK of the "significant benefit" of remaining part of the European Union and warned against the risks associated with a Brexit.

In an email to workers at its Mini and Rolls-Royce brands, the German car manufacturer said that while the matter is for the British public to decide, the company's employment base in the UK could be affected by a Brexit.

BMW employs around 8,000 people in the UK across the BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brands.

BMW told its staff that the freedom of movement in the EU "allows the rapid transfer of expert knowledge throughout the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and BMW Group networks, building the skill level of our UK workforce".

It stressed the importance of "free trade" for "international business".

The email added: "Tariff barriers would mean higher costs and higher prices and we cannot assume that the UK would be granted free trade with Europe from outside the EU."

Car industry pro-EU

Meanwhile, the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), which represents 30 manufacturers which build more than 70 models of car, revealed that its members had "clearly stated" their support for the campaign to stay in the EU, citing the risks posed to jobs, investment and growth.

Chief executive Mike Hawes said access to the European market is what makes the UK so attractive to car manufacturers around the world.