BMW’s Oxford plant has celebrated the three millionth modern Mini to roll off the assembly line since production began back in 2001. The three millionth Oxford-built Mini was a John Cooper Works Clubman.
From around 300 cars a day in 2001 to around 1,000 built to order cars today, the 4,500 strong workforce at Oxford 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.
On Thursday, 1 December, the plant was visited by Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Production. He 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 everyone working here can be very proud of.”
Sales of the Mini, both in the UK and internationally, have gone from strength to strength over the last 15 years. In its first year nearly 40,000 Minis were sold worldwide. By 2015 this number had risen to nearly 340,000.
Three UK plants have a part to play in its production – Hams Hall near Birmingham makes engines, Swindon produces body pressings and sub-assemblies for the Mini, and this all comes together at Oxford with body shell production, paint and final assembly. Together these plants have helped to generate and sustain employment for thousands of people directly and indirectly though the wider supply chain and retailers.
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 paintshop, 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 been building cars since 1913 when William Morris (later Lord Nuffield), produced its first car, a “Bullnose” Morris, near today’s present state-of-the-art Mini production facility.
The classic Mini, designed by Sir Alec Issigonis and launched in 1959, was produced at Oxford until 1968 with a peak output of 94,889 cars during 1966-7.
Models built at Oxford today 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.