News : Two millionth MINI rolls out of Oxford

A decade after the start of production, the two millionth MINI was driven off the production line at Plant Oxford by Prime Minister David Cameron. Of the two million, more than 1.5 million MINIs have been exported from the UK. Frank-Peter Arndt, who is responsible for production, was present to celebrate this latest major milestone for Plant Oxford and the continuing success of the MINI brand.

During the visit, Mr Arndt updated the Prime Minister on preparations at the plant to produce the next generation MINI including new production facilities currently under construction. This latest investment decision helps to ensure the long term future of the Oxford plant and jobs at its pressings plant in Swindon and its engine plant at Hams Hall near Birmingham. It also takes the company’s total investment across all its UK operations to more than £1.5bn since 2000.

The two millionth MINI is a MINI Convertible specially painted in White Silver metallic with a blue denim roof.  The specification boasts a selection of bespoke interior and exterior options including special alloy wheels, a distinctive leather steering wheel and lounge leather upholstery.  This historic car is the prize on offer in a global Facebook campaign called ‘Two Million MINIs – Two Million Faces’ which involves photographs of the faces of two million MINI fans being collected and built to create a dedicated Facebook ‘wall’. The winner will be chosen at random after the campaign closes on 30 September.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: ‘It’s a real privilege to drive this true British icon off the production line today. The 2 millionth MINI to be made here in Oxford is a fantastic symbol of the UK’s strength in the global automotive industry and a great British manufacturing success story.  BMW’s continued investment in its UK operations, together with its export success – selling to over 90 countries worldwide – is contributing to a real renaissance for the UK car industry and a brilliant example of the sustainable, balanced growth we are determined to achieve. MINI is not just a symbol of our industrial past, but also the great industrial future we want to build.’  ‪

Since MINI went into production in 2001, developments at Cowley have reflected MINI’s growing success.  In 2001 some 2400 ‘associates’ worked in single shift operations to build up to 300 cars a day. Today around 3700 work five days a week on two shifts to produce as many as 900 MINIs per day. During the same period maximum production capacity at the plant has risen from 100,000 to over 200,000 units per year. In the medium term the plant has an annual capacity of 260,000 units.


Keith Adams


  1. For me, this is amazingly good news. I know that there have been some BMW bashers about and perhpas they have their reasons but the amount of investment and jobs that this has secured must be applauded. Although I lament the demise of Rover Group and its predicesors, could the Phoenix 4 or whoever really have invested this much in MINI for it to be this success? I don’t think that could have.
    Just my opinion.

  2. Ah but MINIs are trendy, trains are not. Why would you expect any politician to understand, especially a public school slap head like Ca moron. Politicians played a critical role in destroying British owned car manufacturing (along with other manufacturing) and they appear to love inward investment and foreign ownership. We need to keep the money in the country, not use it to fuel the profits of overseas owners. While we keep electing professional politicians like “Call me Dave” and pseudo-Tory Clegg we won’t get anywhere. To be honest it’s probably too late anyway.

  3. Great to see MINI doing so well, and it seems there’s plenty more to come from them with the derivatives (like them or loathe them) now available and planned.

    If the competition winner is UK-based they’ll get a left hand drive car.

  4. So this car is a prize for a competition on facebook. I guess they’re not anticipating a UK, Irish, Australian, SA, NZ or Japanese winner then?

    I did find it slighly amusing the other week though, when the media was reporting that a “British Company” had lost out on a major train building contract. Whilst it was true a “British Factory” had lost out, Bombardier are a Canadian Company.

  5. Fair play to BMW, they produce a product that people want and command a premium for it, something that only happened in MG Rover’s blurred vision.

  6. 1.5 million MINIs exported – good news and a sign of the economy being re-balanced. I wonder, though, what the value of the imported components is that go into every MINI.

  7. It’s a German hatchback built in a satellite plant in England. Of course it’s going to be left hand drive (and no doubt on German plates…..)

    Good to see the PM supporting the company that implemented the asset-stripping of the once proud UK car industry.

    The same company that is expanding the marque to ridiculous proportions by building 4×4 SUVs in Austria.

    Bah humbug!

  8. No doubt about it – MINI has been a great success story. However, I can’t help but feel a bit sad – I’m sure that BMW could have had a similar success with Rover and the original plan of MINI, Rover 55 and Rover 75. At the time BMW pulled out this three model range (which could have had numerous R8 style derivatives) was hardly a million miles from completion. If the government had had a modicum of long term thinking it would have injected the final shot of state aid requested by BMW. This would most likely have resulted in a sound, successful Rover kept safely under the wing of a German parent. I’ve said similar so many times before but the sheer frustration leads me to repeat myself yet again!
    Also, I feel if MINI had remained part of Rover the car would have remained closer to its roots – there would have been no need to expand the range upwards and create the new Maxi, sorry Countryman.

  9. It just doesn’t have the same magic about it that the original milestone Mini’s did…. Not that I was there for most of them mind,..

    I dunno, all the pics of X millionth Mini over in the development story just look a bit more special.

  10. FAO Dr Bobby Love

    Mini landmarks

    By December 1962, half a million Minis had been built

    By 1965, that had doubled to one million…

    …and in 1969, that had doubled again. The expressions on George Turnbull’s (left) and Alec Issigonis’
    faces tell us all we need to know…

    Lord Stokes celebrating the three millionth Mini off the line, 25th October 1972…

    Sue Cuff was on hand to see off the four millionth Mini in 1976.

    And in 1986, the five millionth Mini had been produced – Noel Edmonds saw it off the line.

  11. The Mini has been a huge success story and one of very few UK cars that has worldwide appeal and volumes to match. BMW were very concerned after the very low sales volumes of Rover 75 that Mini was also going to be a low volume car, hence the move to Cowley.

    In hindsight Mini should have been produced at the new facility at Longbridge with greater capacity. the Rover 55 should have been launched as a Triumph to sell in world markets with numerous versions like the R8. The Rover name was unsuitable for this sector of the market especially in the USA. The Rover 75 could have been slowly developed and a coupe Riley launched as planned together with the tourer. Just a shame BMW lost its nerve and took short term decisions due to exchange rate issues that have since evaporated.

  12. Great news for UK plc. We are net exporter of cars thanks to the great products made in the UK; the new MINI and Nissan Cashcow included.

  13. “It’s a German hatchback built in a satellite plant in England. Of course it’s going to be left hand drive (and no doubt on German plates…..)”

    Actually i think it’s a convertible. 🙂

  14. Well its nice to see something built in the Uk, sure its BMW owned but. Uk built Uk works so all good. Personally i dont like em but there not to my taste 🙂

  15. ‘Once proud UK car industry’? Could this be the same industry that was so badly managed that it had to be bailed out by public money? Could this be the same industry whose workers by and large didn’t give a s**t about what they did and how they did it as long as they were paid? Could this be the same industry that didn’t give a damn about its customers and fobbed them off with frequently poorly designed and badly built cars in the belief that people would buy them because they were British?
    I am no supporter of BMW and did not approve of their treatment of Rover but let’s not kid ourselves that the UK car industry was killed by dastardly foreigners or wicked politicians. Blame for that rests solely with the managers and employees of that industry and no one else.

  16. Nice to see that Mini is doing OK,its a shame that the marque is not owned by the UK company, shame also that short sided actions at that time of the goverment we
    may have still have Rover producing cars. In my view it would been great that BAE sold Rover group to Honda, as we all know with Honda had lot of input and with their help produce some good cars for Rover Group. However BMW did help in getting Rover 75 and R75 is a great car, with the possible Rover 55,or that already been mentioned using the Riley and Triumph marques could done wonders to Uk exports.I also that already been noted that the Mini Clubman more of a Maxi than a Mini! I wonder what Lord Nuffield thoughts about his old factory! Great review as ever, Regards Mark.

  17. About 60 percent of the components of the latest MINI come from suppliers based in the UK compared to 40 percent for the predecessor model. Petrol engines for the current MINI now come from Hams Hall in UK and no longer from Brazil, and major sub-assemblies and pressings are mainly delivered from Swindon.

    “The extension of the supplier network for vehicle components is an important element in the structure of the MINI production triangle. Besides the BMW Group, numerous suppliers of vehicle components have invested in the production of the new MINI in the UK. For example, the three suppliers for the front end, cockpit and seat modules of the MINI have set up operations within a distance of just one hour’s drive from the Oxford plant and, with a total of more than £40 million investment, have created about 750 new jobs.”

  18. Quote:
    “Good to see the PM supporting the company that implemented the asset-stripping of the once proud UK car industry.”

    What did the previous British Owners BAe do to the huge Cowley Oxford Plant…….razed most of it to the ground and sold off the sites for short term profit and re-development into retail parks via Arlington Securities their asset-stripping property arm!

    BMW like most German companies have invested in the factory and MINI brand for long term growth, at the same time creating a new market sector for prestige small cars now being copied by Alfa Mito, Audi A1, Citroen DS3 and more to come……

  19. @Two R8s – 2Million Minis maybe?
    @Ianto – Nobody took any notice of the first post so give up pal!
    @Richard – Bang on! It was management, unions and meddling politicians with their social engineering (enforced location of car plants) that killed the UK industry. I worked for a Japanese firm for over 15 years, I took their money every month and spent it in the UK (mainly!), don’t care where the parent company is based so long as they are paying British workers.

  20. Looking at the photo of the two millionth Mini, I notice that Alec Issigonis is looking at his watch. Was he meant to be somewhere else?

    In the photo of the five millionth Mini, directly behind Noel Edmunds, to the right, there is a man who looks like Michael Hesseltine showing some emotion.

    Don’t you just love the days when photos were not carefully choreographed?

  21. Ianto – Are you speaking colloquial ‘gangster rap’ because a lot of younger BMW drivers are perceived to display this characteristic?

    One prefers the Queen’s English please.

  22. This is excellent piece of news. Despite the inevitable knocking comments above, the MINI is very much a British product. The body panels are pressed in Swindon. The Engine is made at the BMW plant at Hams Hall, Birmingham. The Gearbox is manufactured by Getrag on Merseyside and the car is assembled in Oxford.

  23. Well, it’s a nice cooincidence that both Minis hit 2 million after the same time in production.

    The fact that 1.5 million of these cars have been exported from the UK is good news for our economy, despite what we think of the car or the company.

  24. Is my classic Mini a British Product? Designed by someone born in Turkey, with German and Greek Parents. Sunroof was made in Japan, Wheels were made in Italy, Ignition system in France, Fueling system German and American, the Leather for the interior most likely came from German cows, even the badges were made in France.
    I think it’s almost impossible to say a car is mostly from any one country, and it’s been that way for a long time, simply because like any large industry it’s a global one.

    What is sad though is when other nations governments were supporting their failing industries and giving them money to buy other companies, ours just walked away and let the said foreign government supported companies to buy ours! The Bombardier Rail plant in Derby is a classic example, Bombardier are supported by the Canadian government. BMC and BL were without doubt poorly managed and blighted by self destructive unionists. They weren’t the only car producer to suffer this though. Look at the French car industry, they often built shoddy products, it’s still common for people to say French cars are badly made, yet people still buy them in larger numbers. The companies that make them would have failed decades ago if it hadn’t been for government intervention. As i understand it the french government gave Michelin the money to buy the failed Citroen company. The same again when Peugeot bought it. When ever one of the big 3 need cash the government simply buy shares in them and give them the money as shareholder investment, then sell the shares on again when business picks up. The same goes for various other utilities, while our government sold off everything, other nations companies went around buying ours up. EDF for example are the french national power company, British Gas are owned by the spanish national gas company, every few years the government regulator forces BT to sell off something, like O2 (Cellnet) for example, was snapped up by Spanish Telecom.
    Our car industry was poorly managed, rife with petit tribalism, destructive unionism and respective governments just haven’t helped.
    Another big problem has largely been a lack of general patriotism, going back to the French example, French people generally buy French cars because they’re French branded. We don’t really see that in the UK.
    We can blame governments, businessmen or workers, but in the end we really only have ourselves to blame.

  25. I take the point about other governments supporting their industries. In this country we have always taken a different view of business and how companies operate, generally believing that they stand or fall by themselves. The postwar nationalisations of railways, coal etc. were the exception rather than the rule and the nationalisation of BLMC in the 70s was an act of political expediency as well as industrial necessity: any government, Tory or Labour, that let BLMC sink without trace would have been punished at the ballot box.
    Historically continental countries had far higher levels of imported goods than we did up until we joined the EEC. Joining the EEC (as it then was) meant us accepting a higher level of imports but also gave us the opportunity to export more. Unfortunately, from the UK car industry’s point of view, that didn’t really happen: we bought their cars in greater numbers than they bought ours. I would suggest this was due to them producing better products than us (eg, Golf v Allegro).
    Other countries do back their companies more but then they all have more money to play with because they tax more. Again this is something that we tend not to like in the UK (we prefer low US style tax rates combined with high Scandinavian standard public services!) and no party has succeeded in convincing people to vote for them when they have proposed higher taxation. But even with bigger public funding you’ve got to have good management making the right call more often than not and, to go back to the sorry story of BLMC/BL/Rover, I cannot think of any government that would have had enough confidence in their managers to say, ‘here’s a couple of billion quid, lads. Get back to us in ten years when you’re selling millions of cars.’
    I think British people are very patriotic and support British industry whenever they can. I know a lot of people said that Rover would have been saved if more Brits had bought Rovers. But look at it this way. Why should people, whose own jobs were often under as much threat as any Rover employee, have had to part with hard-earned money for what was all too often an inferior product just to keep Rover alive and well? Let’s be honest here and admit that most of Rover’s customers had been doing that for years, buying in the belief that one day it would all come right. But it never did. Patriotism can blind us if we’re not careful and it’s not always a good guide. British Steel sold steel around the world to many motor manufacturers and, when BMC switched to cheaper foreign steel, they stuck up a banner at their Port Talbot works which read: Support British Steel – buy Volvo.

  26. I agree with you but,

    “But look at it this way. Why should people, whose own jobs were often under as much threat as any Rover employee, have had to part with hard-earned money for what was all too often an inferior product just to keep Rover alive and well?”

    It’s true they often were poor, come the early 90’s they were a lot better, but people were still buying foreign cars because they were ‘perceived’ as better. Up until the early 80’s BMW’s used to rot out like Fiats, which is why there are so few old BMW’s around. However many people will still tell you French cars are poorly made, yet they’ve always sold in large numbers, no more so than in their home market.

    It’s like the joke that does the rounds via email every now and then, something like;

    “What it means to be British – You drive home from working for your American company, then walk to your Dutch made fridge and pick up a Belgian beer, then sitting down in front of your Japanese made TV to watch Italian Football, while your Polish wife flicks through a Spanish Holiday Brochure.”

    Stereotypical, but can you really say it’s inaccurate?

    As far as having low taxes goes, well then that’s down to the politicians again. If all the parties raised taxes, then none of them would have a tax advantage, it’s what’s known as good government. However politicians aren’t really interested in good government, just getting one over on the opposition.

  27. I agree with you, Dennis, about the quality of Rover cars in the 90s. I had a 600 for many years and it was just terrific. And I agree with you about some foreign cars not being as great as claimed. BMWs rusted away like Lancias at one time and Renaults are famed for their crap electrics. But overall there were probably better cars coming from foreign manufacturers over a longer period of time and that’s what did for the likes of Rover.

    Yes, French cars sell well in the home market and that is certainly down to their chauvinism as much as anything else but they do also produce a full range of vehicles from superminis to large saloons as well as vans etc. Rover stopped doing that years ago so were not fully competitive in every sector of the market. I was looking for an estate car back in the 90s and wanted a Rover but they didn’t have one apart from the ridiculously expensive 400 estate. A dealer told me that Rover felt that they had the estate market covered with the 400 and the Discovery. What absolute nonsense. I bought a Mondeo instead.

    Taxation is for the politicians but it’s also for the public. If we want good public services and more public money pumped into business etc. then we should say so. I’m sure any politician worth his salt would offer higher taxes if he or she thought it was a vote winner – even the Tories!

    Now, about Polish wives…

  28. More nonsense about government support. The government pumped millions into British Leyland and what did they get for it? The Meastro, Montego and a workforce that spent more time standing on a picket line than an assembly line. Why on earth should the likes of Ford, Vauxhall and other vehicle manufacturers based in Britain bank roll their competition through corporation tax?

  29. “The government pumped millions into British Leyland”
    Perhaps, but while our government was pumping in Millions, other nations were pumping in tens of millions….

    “Ford, Vauxhall and other vehicle manufacturers based in Britain bank roll their competition through corporation tax?”
    Really? I was under the Impression Ford Europe and GM Europe were based in Germany. Guess why? The German government invested billions to keep it that way, which was raised through taxation.
    People do still go and buy Ford’s and Vauxhall’s with some illusion they’re British. Vauxhall’s are just German designed Opels with different badges stuck on. Whilst both Ford and GM make stuff in the UK they’re no more British than Honda, Toyota or Nissan.

  30. Paul, response 34 – Hadn’t the striking stopped by the Maestro, Montego period?

    Yes, the government investment did ‘only’ produce the three M’s. But isn’t that the whole point? If there had been a larger, longer term investment there would have been three separate cars as opposed to two and a saloon version. Also, better funded, they would have relied less on existing mechanicals and reached the market sooner. The result? A full recovery, thousands of jobs, lots of exports. The ‘just and so enough at the time’ level of investment produced a lingering death punctuated with glimmers of hope.

  31. Its a great achievement as several have already said but Paul 27 sums it up in a nutshell, its created and supported a lot of jobs here in the UK. I was amused by the anti Cam comments, I am no big fan of his either and agree the Canadian owned train factory in Derby should be saved but I can’t see the relevance to this story, which should be celebrating the efforts of the UK based workforce. Mind you Nu Labour could have saved MGR at the eleventh hour but didn’t and promised to invest in JLR (Evoque) but didn’t leaving Tata to find the money elsewhere. The money spent on the scrappage scheme supporting the Korean car industry could have been spent on MGR or JLR or LDV for that matter. Those companies are foreign owned but at least the products are made here, to my knowledge no Kia has ever been built in the UK.

  32. I can’t remember how much money they put into the scrappage scheme but would it have been enough to revitalise MGR? For more than thirty years MGR and its predecessor companies had swallowed up considerable amounts of public money and to have put money into MGR would have been throwing good money after bad. The problem was that the company, just like all its earlier incarnations, did not produce cars that enough people wanted. The 75, not matter how well built it was, did not have sufficient appeal so by 2005 you couldn’t make a real commercial argument for MGR’s continued existence. It’s sad but MGR was just the latest in a long line of motor manufacturers who finally ran out of road.
    The good news is that Mini is doing well as is JLR. Anything that leads to increased investment and work in the UK has got to be good.

  33. For a car enthusiasts forum there’s far too much talk about politics and muppet politicians and not enough car chat! And what’s all this poppycock about Polish girls being so hot!? Are you refering to Monica, jumping out of her burning flat window in Croyden during the riots, having just arrived a week before in England to live off the state. I thought she was a bit of a munter.

    Great news about the Mini. At least the man behind the wheel isn’t Gordon Brown!

  34. Tom (39) – brilliant! Unfortunately the true elephant in the room is the welfare state and the NHS, where money is being hosed up against a wall (largely to no benefit to the “working” population – the waste in the NHS for example is shocking). Various governments “social engineering” has created a populace which is breeding more and more of them with their hands out. Money would have been better invested in industry creating real jobs and provided more jobs in the wider community (support industries, shops etc) but politicians have no clue when it comes to the bigger picture. The problem in the past is governments put money into BLMC/BL but only put a bit in and got a half-arsed job as a result, coupled with rampant militicism by trade unions in the 70’s explains why there isn’t a British Renault or PSA (by the way, the electrics on Renaults are still rubbish!)

  35. please don’t call this a mine its a bad move from bmw who nicked our mini name and put it on there cars so they can make a profit from the name mini.

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