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.