Report: Investigation Finds BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Volkswagen Linked To Forced Labor In China

The BMW logo is seen on the top of the headquarters of German carmaker BMW in Munich on March 20, 2018.
The BMW logo is seen on the top of the headquarters of German carmaker BMW in Munich on March 20, 2018. (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s James Meyers
1:03 PM – Monday, May 20, 2024

Multiple major automakers relied on forced labor in China for some purchased parts, a Senate Finance Committee investigation found on Monday. 


BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen purchased parts that were flagged by the U.S. government for links to forced labor camps in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang, home to the Uighur minority group of Muslims. 

The two-year investigation also found that BMW and Jaguar Land Rover continued importing the flagged parts as recently as last month, even after they were informed of the forced labor, according to the report. 

“Automakers are sticking their heads in the sand and then swearing they can’t find any forced labor in their supply chains,” Finance Chair Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a statement. “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.”

“Automakers’ self-policing is clearly not doing the job,” he continued. “I’m calling on Customs and Border Protection to take a number of specific steps to supercharge enforcement and crack down on companies that fuel the shameful use of forced labor in China.”

Additionally, the report claims that BMW imported close to 8,000 mini cars to the U.S. that contained a flagged part, after a Chinese manufacturer was added to a forced labor list in December.

The report revealed that Bourns Inc, a California-based auto supplier, had sourced components from Sichuan Jingweida Technology Group (JWD). That Chinese company was added to the UFLPA Entity List in December, which means its products are presumed. 

Bourns provided JWD parts to Lear Corp, a direct supplier for BMW and Jaguar Land Rover. Burns then notified Lear in January that electronic components known as LAN transformers had been produced by JWD and were prohibited in U.S. imported vehicles. 

Meanwhile, on January 11th, Lear sent letters to BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and Volkswagen AG informing them of the banned components, according to the report. Lear confirmed it promptly notified customers “of products containing these components and worked with our supplier to expeditiously re-source the manufacture of these components to another sub-supplier.”

The company also added that it “takes human rights and forced labor issues seriously and has an active ongoing program of human rights protection and anti-slavery measures.”

The report said BMW “appears to have stopped (imports) only after the committee repeatedly asked detailed questions to Lear and Lear’s OEM customers, including BMW, about their relationship with JWD.”

Lear said it takes the issues raised seriously and shares “the committee’s desire to combat forced labor,” and also noted it does not have a direct relationship with JWD. 

In February, Volkswagen confirmed that several thousand Audi, Bentley and Porsche vehicles were held at U.S. ports because a Chinese subcomponent breached anti-forced labor laws. 

Furthermore, Volvo cars received LAN transformers for a new car program not yet in production and did not use any in its vehicles, according to the report. 

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