Report: Vehicles shipped to US used parts made in China with forced labor


Imported German-made BMWs are parked at the North East Auto Terminal, Oct. 23, 2008, in Jersey City, New Jersey. [AP Photo]

BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen have used parts from a Chinese supplier banned in the United States for using forced labor, according to a U.S. congressional investigation.

A report released Monday by the Senate Finance Committee stated that the car companies developed vehicles using parts created with Uyghur forced labor in the Xinjiang region of northwest China.

Under the 2021 Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), the import of goods from Xinjiang to the United States is banned unless companies can prove that the production did not use forced labor.

Beijing has been accused of placing over 1 million Muslims, including Uyghurs, in detention facilities in Xinjiang. Chinese officials deny the accusations.

“Automakers’ self-policing is clearly not doing the job,” said Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, following a two-year investigation by Democratic staff on the committee.

“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 Volkswagen AG manufactured cars that all included components made by a supplier banned for using Uyghur forced labor,” he said in a statement.

The congressional report said the California-based auto supplier Bourns Inc. had sourced components from the Sichuan Jingweida Technology Group Co. (JWD), a company on the UFLPA ban list since 2023 for the supposed use of forced labor in its manufacturing processes.

Bourns then provided the components to Lear Corporation, a direct supplier for BMW and Jaguar Land Rover.

The report said Lear sent letters in January to BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen, notifying them of the banned components and said it was working with its supplier to remanufacture the components.

Volkswagen confirmed earlier this year that a shipment of its vehicles to the U.S. included parts from a blacklisted supplier.

BMW, after questioning from the congressional committee, said it used barred parts from JWD in at least 8,000 of its Mini Cooper cars. BMW has also stated it plans to stop importing vehicles that use the barred parts.

According to the congressional report, BMW used banned products until about April 2024.

Jaguar Land Rover said it didn't know about its business relationship with JWD, according to the report. The company said it stopped shipments of the affected parts as soon as it learned of the issue.