Continued UK production of the MINI has been confirmed – parent company BMW will invest £600m in the company’s firm’s factory in Cowley. The plant will begin production of the recently announced MINI Cooper E and SE as well as the forthcoming electric MINI Aceman in 2026, after the UK Government pledged to spend about £75m in subsidies.
Cowley currently produces the MINI three- and five-door as well as the Clubman and Electric. From 2024, the plant will start producing the next generation MINIs with combustion engines, as well as the new Convertible, before being joined by the new all-electric vehicles once the planned investment has been completed.
Originally, it looked like the MINI Electric production would be leaving these shores following an announcement from BMW, so this would be a significant – and welcome – U-turn by the German carmaker.
The move will secure around 4000 jobs at Cowley and Swindon, where BMW makes body panels. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, said BMW’s investment was, ‘a huge vote of confidence in this country as a global leader in electric vehicles.’
Stefanie Wurst, Head of the MINI brand, said, ‘MINI has always been aware of its history – Oxford is and remains the heart of the brand. I am delighted that the two new, fully electric MINI models – the MINI Cooper and MINI Aceman – are also being produced in Oxford, thereby confirming our path to a fully electric future. The continuing high demand for our locally emission-free vehicles shows the openness of the global MINI community to electromobility, which we will be able to serve optimally, also thanks to Oxford.’
However, as The Guardian reports, BMW’s announcement comes even though there remains uncertainty over whether UK-made electric cars will be subject to EU tariffs, and vice versa, from 1 January 2024 because of rules that require batteries to be sourced from the UK or the EU.
Carmakers have been lobbying the EU to move back the start date for the rules to avoid adding costs to European-built electric cars, just at the point when the Chinese manufacturers are pushing into Europe with a new wave of keenly-priced products.
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