Engine production at BMW’s underutilised Hams Hall engine plant near Birmingham, UK, is ramping up with the introduction of the new small BMW 1 Series and the plant is becoming an important global centre for BMW four-cylinder engine production insists BMW.

Speaking at a presentation to UK journalists on 30 July, plant director Harald Krueger said that Hams Hall was now acquiring a key engine-sourcing role within BMW’s global network. As well as the 1 Series ramp-up, he pointed out that the plant was already supplying engines to the 3 Series range at plants in Germany and South Africa.

The Hams Hall plant, constructed to supply Rover and BMW in the days when Rover was part of BMW Group, made 125,000 engines last year against an estimated production capacity of 400,000 units. This year’s engine production is getting a 1 Series boost in the second half of the year which will see output grow to an estimated 140,000 units. Next year could see Hams Hall engine production approaching 200,000 units.

The 1 Series goes on sale in Europe in September. No final decision has yet been taken on whether or not to market the vehicle in the US.

In addition to current supply contracts, Krueger said that Hams Hall could possibly in the future supply an engine to Spartanburg, USA (Z4) and China was a possibility also, although he added that there were concerns on supplying advanced technology to China due to the Chinese ability to copy. The four-cylinder engines produced at Hams Hall use BMW’s advanced ‘valvetronic’ technology.

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Krueger also said that the plant would be supplying the next generation Mini in four years time, when another shift would likely be added.

That engine will replace the four-cylinder gasoline engine now used in the Mini, which is imported from the Tritec joint venture plant in Curitiba, Brazil.

Krueger confirmed that there are no plans to supply other manufacturers with BMW engines produced at Hams Hall.