BMW will cut production at its Mini factory in Oxford, England, to prepare the plant for the introduction of a Mini station wagon, according to Automotive News Europe.

Total production for 2006 will be less than the 200,000-plus units expected this year. That will result in a longer waiting period for a customer-ordered model. The wait in the US is already four months due to the car's popularity.

Mini production will stop for more than three weeks in
late 2005 and early 2006, Mini's vice president for brand management, Kay Segler, told ANE. There will be other production reductions in 2006.

BMW plans to invest about EUR150 million to make the Oxford plant more flexible, Segler said. The target is a 20% increase in capacity.

The plant changes will include paint shop modernisation and the addition of 200 jobs. Additionally, the lines will be modified to build a third body style, a station wagon likely to be called the Mini Traveller.

Details about the wagon are expected to be announced at the Detroit motor show in January. The model will go on sale from 2008.

Segler said Mini Traveller concepts shown at the Tokyo and Frankfurt motor shows were not necessarily representative of the production vehicle.

"Proceed under the assumption that many elements of the concept vehicle are not being realised in a production model," Segler said.

For example, the two doors that are positioned side-by-side at the rear of the concepts are not planned.

A BMW source said: "They are too expensive to design."

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