Friday, 2 December 2016
MINI output tops three million mark
Production of the modern version of the Austin/Morris Mini, designed by Sir Alec Issigonis and launched in 1959, has just topped three million.
BMW’s Plant Oxford began production of the MINI began back in 2001, a car that in many ways revolutionised automotive world. Produced at Oxford until 1968 output reached a peak of 94,889 cars during 1966-7.
From around 300 cars a day in 2001 to around 1,000 built to order cars today, the 4,500 strong workforce at Oxford can 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.
Yesterday, 1 December, Oliver Zipse, member of the board of management of BMW AG, responsible for production, joined the team in Oxford to celebrate this major UK manufacturing milestone.
Zipse said: “It’s great to be back in Oxford to mark this fantastic MINI production milestone. Since we began building MINIs back in 2001 the car has proved to be hugely popular with customers right around the world. The passion and commitment that everyone here at the plant has for building a high-quality product is central to that success. 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 of which everyone working here can be very proud.”
In its first year nearly 40,000 MINIs were sold worldwide. By 2015 this number had risen to nearly 340,000.
Three UK plants play a part in production - Hams Hall near Birmingham makes engines, Swindon produces body pressings and sub-assemblies for MINI, and this all comes together at Oxford with body shell production, paint and final assembly.
Since 2000, £1.75 billion has been invested by BMW Group at the three plants and at Oxford this has included a state-of-the-art paint shop, 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 has a rich motor manufacturing history. It has built cars since 1913 when the designer, entrepreneur and philanthropist William Morris (later Lord Nuffield), produced its first car, a “Bullnose” Morris, near today’s present state-of-the-art MINI production facility. Models built at Oxford include 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.