BMW Group has confirmed plans to build its electric MINI in the UK after securing investment of more than £600 million in the MINI factories at Oxford and Swindon.
“With this new investment we will develop the Oxford plant for production of the new generation of electric MINIs and set the path for purely electric car manufacturing in the future,” said Milan Nedeljković, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for production.
The Oxford plant is gearing-up to build two new all-electric MINI models from 2026, the 3-door MINI Cooper and the compact crossover MINI Aceman. By 2030 production will be exclusively electric and the BMW Group will have spent over £3bn on its Swindon, Hams Hall and Oxford plants since 2000.
This development has been supported by the UK Government and will help to secure jobs at the Oxford manufacturing plant and at the body-pressing facility in Swindon.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said “BMW Group’s investment is another shining example of how the UK is the best place to build cars of the future. By backing our car manufacturing industry, we are securing thousands of jobs and growing our economy right across the country.”
Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said, “This decision is a big vote of confidence in the UK economy and the work of this Government to ensure the continued strength of our world-leading automotive sector. We are proud to be able to support BMW Group’s investment, which will secure high-quality jobs, strengthen our supply chains, and boost Britain’s economic growth”.
Oxford to remain the Home of MINI
The Oxford plant celebrated its 110th anniversary this year and has been successfully producing the current MINI Electric since 2019, where it is fully integrated into the production line with the conventional (ICE) models.
Stefanie Wurst, Head of the MINI brand, said: “MINI has always been aware of its history – Oxford is and remains the heart of the brand. I am delighted that the two new, fully electric MINI models – the MINI Cooper and MINI Aceman – are also being produced in Oxford, thereby confirming our path to a fully electric future. The continuing high demand for our locally emission-free vehicles shows the openness of the global MINI community to electromobility, which we will be able to serve optimally in the future, also thanks to Oxford.”
The MINI Plant Oxford currently produces the MINI 3-door, the MINI 5-door as well as the MINI Clubman and the MINI Electric. From 2024 the plant will start producing the next generation MINI 3-door and MINI 5-door with combustion engines, as well as the new MINI Convertible, before they are joined by the new all-electric vehicles in 2026 – the MINI Cooper 3-door and the MINI Aceman.
The factory will reach a production capacity of around 200,000 cars per year in the medium term, with ICE and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) initially being built on the same production line. From 2030, the Oxford Plant will produce all-electric MINI models exclusively.
In a few weeks, production of the new MINI Countryman will begin at the BMW Group plant Leipzig. This larger crossover model in the MINI line-up will be offered with both pure electric drive and combustion engines.
Production of two next generation all-electric MINI Cooper 3-door and Aceman models will begin in China. The new manufacturing plant in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province is part of a joint venture with Great Wall Motor. Exports will begin in early 2024.
Today’s investment announcement will impact all main production areas in Oxford. The existing production lines will be developed further, with the key changes being an extension of the current body shop and a new area for battery installation. Additional logistics facilities will be built on both the Oxford and Swindon sites.
“I am proud to say that our Oxford and Swindon plants will play a central role in the BMW Group’s transition to electromobility. We are determined to continue the historic success story of our plants, producing the most loved British car brand”, said Markus Grüneisl, CEO of Plants Oxford and Swindon.
More than 4,000 people currently work across the Oxford site and at another factory in Swindon.
According to the BBC, the UK investment will be backed by funding from the government’s Automotive Transformation Fund – understood to be worth £75m.
The Mini brand is expected to go fully electric by 2030, so this decision is set to secure the future of the two UK factories.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “All I can tell you is what we put in the automotive transformation fund, and that’s money that goes to many different companies across the sector not just one. We put in £350m in 2021.
“We do have to do some investment ourselves as government, that is standard, and we’re competing against countries from all around the world as well as the EU and we are winning. We’re not doing anything out of the ordinary.”
This story was updated at 2.30pm on 11th September. Image courtesy of BMW Group.
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