BMW & MINI have been accused of importing F56 generation cars with a component that is tied to forced labor camps is western China. A US Senate investigation has reportedly validated earlier German reporting that BMW (along with Jaguar and VW) were tied to a Chinese supplier that used forced labor

The part in question is known as a LAN transformer and is found is on at least 8,000 MINIs imported into the US. The component is critical is allowing various systems within a MINI to talk with each other.

Mini china

The part comes from a company called Sichuan Jingweida Technology Group, also known as JWD. Reportedly the automakers didn’t have a direct connection to JWD but instead part an electronic unit (which included the LAN Transformer) from Lear Corp., a supplier of automotive electrical systems.

According to the Senate report, Volkswagen took steps to correct the issue but BMW and Jaguar have yet to do so.

This has come about due to a two year old law that blocks goods from Xinjiang due to the rampant forced labor camps in the province.

Senator Wyden, who leads the committee didn’t mince words; “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 multibillion-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,” he added. “Automakers’ self-policing is clearly not doing the job.

The Senate committee said that BMW continued importing MINIs until at least April 2024 after being informed by its supplier Leer that there were potential issues. According to the New York Times, BMW appeared to have ceased its imports only after the Senate committee repeatedly questioned it about JWD.

Source: New York Times