BMW China parts probe expanded by US Senate panel

A Mini Cooper S car on the production line.
BMW says it has "taken steps to halt the importation of affected products" [Getty Images]

The head of the US Senate Finance Committee has expanded an investigation of BMW after the car maker was found to have imported vehicles to America that contained banned Chinese parts.

In a letter to BMW North America, Senator Ron Wyden, asked whether it had stopped importing components suspected of being made by people from China's Uyghur minority group in forced labour conditions.

BMW Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, BMW said it had "taken steps to halt the importation of affected products".

It came after a two-year long investigation by Senator Wyden's staff revealed at least 8,000 BMW Mini Cooper cars with banned parts had been imported into the US.

The report found that the cars contained components made by Chinese firm Sichuan Jingweida Technology Group (JWD).

"Is BMW certain that it is not currently importing vehicles containing components produced by JWD?", Senator Wyden's letter said, asking for answers by 21 June.

Other car makers named in the report included Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen.

The US Congress passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) into law in 2021.

The legislation is aimed at preventing the import of goods from China's north-western Xinjiang region where most Uyghurs live.

JWD was added to the UFLPA Entity List in December 2023, which means its products are presumed to be made with forced labour.

China has has faced accusations of detaining more than one million Uyghurs in Xinjiang against their will in recent years.

Beijing has rejected all allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has denounced the UFLPA saying it "harms the survival and employment rights of the people in Xinjiang".