Cowley, or MINI Plant Oxford if you must, has built its three millionth post-BMW MINI, since production began in 2001. The 3,000,000th car was a John Cooper Works Clubman fitted with the ALL4 all-wheel-drive system.
Since 2000, £1.75 billion has been invested by BMW Group at the three plants and at Oxford this has included a cutting-edge paintshop, a high-technology body building facility, a new final assembly area, a new logistics centre, Quality and Engineering Centre and the MINIcademy, where the plant’s apprentices are trained.
Oxford, the heart and home of MINI production, has a rich motor manufacturing history. It has built cars since 1913 when the great designer, entrepreneur and philanthropist William Morris (later Lord Nuffield), produced its first car, a Bullnose Morris, near today’s MINI production facility.
Models built at Oxford today include the three and five-door MINI Hatch, the MINI Clubman, including the Plant’s first all-wheel drive ALL4 model – and the high-performance MINI John Cooper Works Hatch.
Fifteen years of growth in Oxford
From around 300 cars a day in 2001 to around 1000 built to order cars today, the 4500 workforce at Oxford produce one new MINI almost every minute. Around 80 per cent of MINIs built here are exported to more than 110 markets across the world. On Thursday, 1 December, the plant was visited by Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Production, who joined the team in Oxford to celebrate this major UK manufacturing milestone.
Oliver Zipse said: ‘It’s great to be back in Oxford to mark this fantastic MINI production milestone. The three millionth Oxford-built MINI is a remarkable achievement. Congratulations to everyone who has played their part in making this celebration possible.’
Frank Bachmann, Managing Director of Plant Oxford, said: ‘Hitting this milestone is a fantastic achievement for everyone on the team here at Oxford. Building the volume of high-quality cars that we have over the past 15 years is something everyone working here can be very proud of.’
Sales of MINI, both in the UK and internationally, have gone from strength to strength over the last 15 years. In its first year nearly 40,000 MINIs were sold worldwide (below). By 2015, this number had risen to nearly 340,000.