News : MINI sets up production in India

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

MINI Countryman in India

MINI is extending its international production network by additional local production plants for select MINI models. Cars will be rolling off assembly lines beyond Europe for the first time later this year. Local production for the MINI Countryman is currently being prepared at the BMW plant in Chennai (formerly Madras).

The new MINI assembly facility has been brought on stream just a year after the start of MINI sales in India and will help to meet the steadily increasing demand for MINI cars in the Indian market. The first models to be locally produced  in Chennai will be the MINI Cooper D Countryman and the MINI One Countryman.

At the start of 2012, MINI opened its first five showrooms for cars from the British brand in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, making India the 100th market in the global MINI sales network. A total of 302 cars were sold there in between March and December 2012. The Chennai production plant was built in March 2007 and has a production area covering around 13,000 square metres – it is located in the Mahindra World City business zone in the southwest of India, roughly 25 miles north west of Chennai.

Five of the seven models in the current MINI line-up are produced in Britain. The MINI plant in Oxford represents the central pillar in the BMW Group’s British production network, which also includes the Hams Hall engine factory in Birmingham and the press shop in Swindon.

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

24 Comments

  1. Did that elephant do all the panel beating by itself by converting a Hindustan?

    Looks like that may be the case…

  2. It makes sense given the tax on imports in India. I dont think anyone at Oxford needs to worry, the main sell of the MINI, esp in US is the fact it’s built here.

    I guess the Countryman is the model to have in India hence why they’ve chosen to build that one in kit form. I assume it’s already assembled in kits by Steyr or whoever makes it now. They seem to be very popular and though not to everyones taste it has helped to develop the brand in the necessary way to expand the lineup of MINIs, something that Smart utterly failed to do.

  3. Yep, its essentially to get round local import duties that are 100% in India. Its no different to BMC setting up shop in Belgium, Italy and Spain to avoid punitive import tarrifs in the 1960s.

  4. Does that mean the the Magna plant in Autria will be stopping production of the Countryman at some point?

  5. It’s no different to JLR assembling Freelanders in India.

    Magna will probably lose production as Nedcar assembly comes on stream, as Nedcar is more convenient for Cowley, Swindon and Hams Hall.

  6. This news simply follows the trend that British marques have been following for decades, namely undertaking local production using CKD components shipped out to that respective market territory. For example, Land Rover has been doing it for years and will be continuing to do so in India. Back in the 1990s, Land Rover Defenders were assembled in South Africa and fitted with the BMW 2.8-litre straight six petrol engine, to be sold exclusively in that market.

    Even the MGA was assembled in South Africa using CKD kits. Whereas British Racing Racing Green was never offered on the Abingdon built MGA, it was available (as with numerous other ‘non standard’ colours) on South African built MGAs. A friend of mine currently owns one!

    What will be interesting about the Indian built MINI variant will be any changes in its engineering and trim specification over those currently built by Magna for sale in other market territories.

    As dolomitefan says, it is a legitimate way of getting over the tax on imports in what is a rapidly growing market territory. The same reasons also apply to why some Jaguar and Land Rover models will also be built in China within the next few years.

  7. If they wanted to introduce the Rocketman as a budget option, it would make sense to build it in India and leverage the lower costs of production.

    Suzuki and Nissan do this for the Alto/Pixo.

  8. Keep calm dear!

    The expansion of manufacturing facilities abroad for a brand based in the UK is great news – think of the increase in sales that helps pay all the bills and the increasing number of UK made parts (especially engines) going overseas.

    It’s the nature of an expanding brand in a global marketplace and is great news.

  9. Mini needs to move up to 500,000 production across the range. If Longbridge Mini facility had been retained then BMW would not have needed to use overseas production for expansion to such a degree. I can’t see BMW building another major plant in the UK so using overseas factories with spare capacity makes sense. The new mark 3 Mini is coming on stream soon. Would like to see Rcketman go into production and assembled in India for world markets at an entry price of approx £10k. At the other end the Riley Elf booted version is being considered for launch as China likes booted versions of cars as do many developing markets. Would like to see a new Triumph Dolimite and Spitfire budget sports car spun off the mark 3 mini platform

  10. @8 – Nor do BMW produce lame, hopeless products that nobody at home or abroad wants to buy putting themselves in a position for government bailout followed hostile take over.

  11. @17. Oh, I don’t know…BMW have their moments . The current 7 series is an absolute flop, the 6 series not so far behind, the original 850/840 was a complete lemon , the Z1, ingenious though it was , was a commercial failure , and even a car as important as the Bangle 5 series took an awful long time to get going . Now there is a definite tendency in BMW to produce too many niche models . Where have we heard that before ??

  12. My point is,there is no sentiment in business,its the bottom line that counts,BMW have had thier best year yet,the MINI playing its part.No factory is safe anywhere.

  13. They are such cumbersome beasts aren’t they….?
    …and the Elephant is quite imposing too.

    Ps. Thought MINI were doing a remake of the Peugeot 206/Hindustan advert from about 10 years ago!

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