Plant Oxford has celebrated the three millionth MINI to roll off its assembly line since production began back in 2001.
The three-millionth MINI built at Plant Oxford is a John Cooper Works Clubman – the first model to combine the latest John Cooper Works performance enhancements and a new ALL4 all-wheel drive system.
From around 300 cars a day in 2001 to around 1,000 built to order cars currently, the 4,500 strong workforce at Plant Oxford produce one new MINI almost every minute, with around 80% exported to more than 110 markets across the world.
On December 1, the plant was visited by Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Production, who joined the team in Oxford to celebrate this major UK manufacturing milestone.
Zipse commented: “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.”
Managing director of Plant Oxford, Frank Bachmann noted: “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 MINI, both in the UK and internationally, have gone from strength to strength over the past 15 years. In its first year nearly 40,000 MINIs were sold worldwide, rising to nearly 340,000 by 2015.
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 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, £1.75bn has been invested by BMW Group at the three plants and at Oxford this has included an advanced 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, the heart and home of MINI production, has a rich motor manufacturing history. It has been building cars since 1913 when the great designer, entrepreneur and philanthropist William Morris (later Lord Nuffield), produced its first car, a “Bullnose” Morris, near today’s present cutting-edge MINI production facility.
The classic Mini, designed by Sir Alec Issigonis and launched in 1959, revolutionised the automotive world and 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.