MINI : £500m investment safeguards over 5000 jobs at Plant Oxford

The BMW Group has today announced an additional £500 million investment in its UK production network over the next three years and confirmed that the UK will be a production location for its next generation MINI models. This takes the company’s investment across all its UK operations to more than £1.5 billion since 2000.

‘We have started preparing our UK plants for production of the next generation MINI and this investment underlines that the UK will remain the heart of MINI production,’ announced Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, during his visit to London on Thursday. ‘The MINI brand has made a significant contribution to BMW Group’s success in markets around the world and we anticipate that this will grow further in the future.’

The BMW Group Chairman outlined his company’s plans for further investment at a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron in Downing Street this morning. The investment, the majority of which will be will be used to create new production facilities and equipment at MINI Plant Oxford, will help to safeguard over 5,000 jobs in the MINI vehicle assembly plant in Oxford, the pressings plant in Swindon and the company’s engine plant at Hams Hall near Birmingham. Apprentices from the plants were also in Downing Street for the announcement.

The BMW Group has been producing MINI at Plant Oxford since 2001. In that time nearly two million vehicles have been produced at the plant and more than 1.5 million MINIs have been exported to customers in 90 different countries.

I welcome this major investment by BMW Group in UK manufacturing. The production and export of iconic British cars like the MINI is making a real contribution to the rebalancing of the economy that this Government is determined to achieve. It’s a tremendous vote of confidence in the skills and capabilities of the company’s British workforce and in the future of UK manufacturing.” David Cameron MP, UK Prime Minister

Prime Minister David Cameron said: ‘I welcome this major investment by BMW Group in UK manufacturing. The production and export of iconic British cars like the MINI is making a real contribution to the rebalancing of the economy that this Government is determined to achieve. It’s a tremendous vote of confidence in the skills and capabilities of the company’s British workforce and in the future of UK manufacturing.

“The MINI plant in Oxford has been one of our great manufacturing success stories, they should be hugely proud of their achievements. They have shown once again that the UK is a major player in the global automotive industry.”

BMW Group’s strategy is that the location of production is linked to the large markets for its products.  The UK is the Group’s fourth-largest single market in the world for sales, behind only Germany, the US and China, with sales in 2010 across the BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands totalling 154,750.

Producing 216,302 vehicles in 2010 and exporting to more than 90 countries across the globe, MINI was the third-largest vehicle manufacturer in the UK, accounting for 17 per cent of national automotive production. As part of the expansion of the MINI product line-up, the MINI Coupé will be launched in 2011, followed by the MINI Roadster in 2012  – both of which will be produced in Oxford.

Oxford has been the heart of MINI for the last 10 years and we are proud of what has been achieved here. Naturally we are delighted to confirm that the next generation MINI will be built here too and look forward to the continued worldwide success of these great cars.” Jürgen Hedrich, Head of MINI Plant Oxford

Business Secretary Dr. Vince Cable said: ‘Today’s announcement by BMW is a real tribute to the success of British automotive manufacturing. The firm’s workforce in Oxford is now set to repeat the international success of the current MINI in producing the next generation model over the coming years.

The competitiveness of automotive manufacturing in this country is shown by the commitment of the biggest global firms to make serious investments in long-term production here and as a Government we are determined to make sure this success story remains a big part of the future economic growth we must secure.’

‘Oxford has been the heart of MINI for the last 10 years and we are proud of what has been achieved here,’ said Jürgen Hedrich, head of Plant Oxford. ‘Naturally we are delighted to confirm that the next generation MINI will be built here too and look forward to the continued worldwide success of these great cars.’

The BMW Hams Hall engine plant, close to Birmingham, set a new annual production record in 2010 with 385,051 engines, representing 16 per cent of total UK engine production. Four-cylinder petrol engines are manufactured at Hams Hall for both MINI and BMW models.

[Source: BMW Group]

Posted in: AROnline News, MINI
Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

10 Comments on "MINI : £500m investment safeguards over 5000 jobs at Plant Oxford"

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  1. Robert Leitch says:

    Takes out calculator…

    The UK produces 2,406,569 engines per year!

    A not inconsiderable achievement, of which we hear little.

  2. David 3500 says:

    This is great news for British manufacturing jobs, particularly at Cowley and also at Hams Hall. This, together with the recent news from Nissan and also Land Rover’s recent success and intention to open a new engine facility here in the UK, confirms that the UK manufacturing sector has something to look forward to with long term confidence.

  3. DeLorean’s Accountant says:

    Well, this is excellent news for which, I think, BMW should be given credit.

    I’d ask all those naysayers this: could a Rover outfit have ever pledged this much investment? I’m not so sure. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a BMW nut but I certainly think that they have the business nous that the Phoenix 4 didn’t.

    It’s fantastic that there are so many jobs assured because of this, so much money coming in by the way of salaries etc. and so much money coming into the UK due to exports.

  4. DeLorean’s Accountant says:

    Robert Leitch :
    Takes out calculator…

    The UK produces 2,406,569 engines per year!

    A not inconsiderable achievement, of which we hear little.

    …and when the Jaguar Land Rover engine plant comes on line…

    Incidentally, I work for Jaguar Land Rover as an Engineer and even I don’t know where it’ll be!! My guess is as good as anyone’s although I’d like to think that Ryton would be a good location.

  5. Sixtyten says:

    Ahh, isn’t that lovely. BMW have gone all cuddly on us. All it cost was 6,000 people, left high and dry once they’d finished asset stripping Rover of the MINI (sic) and Land Rover. Yes, so well done to all concerned!

  6. Martin says:

    Sixtyten :
    Ahh, isn’t that lovely. BMW have gone all cuddly on us. All it cost was 6,000 people, left high and dry once they’d finished asset stripping Rover of the MINI (sic) and Land Rover. Yes, so well done to all concerned!

    The Mini brand and heritage that Rover management saw no long term future for and were ready to allow to die in 1994…

    However, (against Rover’s expert advice!) BMW invested in the development and update of the classic Mini Mpi to keep it legal under EU emission and safety laws until 2000 (which should, of course, have been done years earlier).

    MINI Plant Oxford just shows what can be done with a UK factory and workforce when you have the faith and vision for making a LONG-term investment in engineering, design and production, rather than going for the short-term profits favoured by so much of British management in the past.

    There would, of course, have been more space to expand Plant Oxford further if only BAe’s property development arm, Arlington Securities, had not razed much of the historic site to the ground for their short-term, asset-stripping re-development into two ‘Retail Parks’ – now no trace of Cowley North or South remains…

  7. Paul says:

    @Sixtyten
    That’s a typically British attitude. BMW cut out the cancer that was Longbridge, the Rovers that nobody wanted to buy and the hopeless, arrogant, inept British management that went with it.

    They have invested heavily in what was left and probably created far more than those 6000 jobs in local supply chains and the Hams Hall facility – both plants are doing something useful by turning out products which people actually want to buy and that have global appeal.

  8. Sixtyten says:

    Messerschmitt buy Supermarine for £10.

    Supermarine Release Concept “Spitfire” for the 21st Century.

    Messerschmitt sell Supermarine for tuppence halfpenny, writing off development costs for new 109 against Supermarine Project Hurricane.

    Messerschmitt announce new SPITFIRE.

    Supermarine sold to Nest Feathering Partners

    SPITFIRE launched.

    Supermarine announce Project Dive to dealers.

    SPITFIRE “Zero” Launched in USA.

    Supermarine go into administration.

    SPITFIRE “Focke Wulf” high performance version launched.

    SPITFIRE “Junkers JU88” personnel carrier version launched.

    SPITFIRE MKII Launched.

    Chinese MIG Copy Buy Supermarine Assets

    Chinese MIG Copy Hurry Cane released to Chinese Market.

    SPITFIRE MKII “Stuka” Two Seater launched.

    Chinese MIG Copy Hurry Cane rebranded as Mosquito Barnes Wallis Bader and launched in UK with “Luva Duck. Gor Blimey Missus, Bud Flanagan, Knees Up Mother Brown” Ad Campaign. For added Britishness fully assembled planes have roundels applied at old Supermarine Factory, now known as Universal Supreme Ultimate Global Sticky Transfer Application Headquarters.

    World ends.

  9. Dave S says:

    @Sixtyten
    I laughed myself silly at this SixtyTen… It’s soooo true – then, of course, it made me want to cry!

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