For the first time since the relaunch of Mini in 2001, preparations are under way for the local production of the brand in several growth markets outside Europe. As a result, cars from the British premium brand will be rolling off assembly lines in India for first time later this year.
Local production for the Mini Countryman is now being prepared at the BMW plant in Chennai (formerly Madras). The plant meets the same stringent quality standards applied to all production of BMW Group models.
The new 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 the 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 five car showrooms in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, making India the 100th market in the global Mini sales network. A total of 302 cars were sold here in between March and December 2012.
BMW's Chennai production plant was built in March 2007 and has since taken on production of the BMW 3-Series and BMW 5-Series as well as the BMW X1 and BMW X3 models.
The facility, which has a production area covering around 13,000 square metres (approx. 140,000 square feet), is located in the Mahindra World City business zone in the southwest of India, roughly 40 km (25 miles) northwest of Chennai.
State-of-the-art machine technology, highly skilled employees and advanced manufacturing processes provide all the necessary ingredients for the production of premium cars to the highest quality standards.
Mini delivered a record 301, 526 vehicles to customers worldwide in 2012 – a 5.8 per cent increase in sales over the previous year.
Five of the seven models in the current line-up are produced in the brand's native Britain. The 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. The Mini Countryman and Mini Paceman, meanwhile, roll off the assembly line at company's production and development partner Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria and are also supplied with engines from Hams Hall.
The BMW Group is investing heavily in the expansion and modernisation of the three locations that make up the Mini production triangle in Britain. Among the factors behind the move is the planned next stage in the expansion of the Mini model family, which will further bolster the brand's global success.
Meanwhile, plans to make Mini in Holland continue. ∎
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