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UK: BMW starts series production of new Mini

By just-auto.com editorial team | 13 September 2006

The first new Mini left the production line today during a line-off ceremony attended by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, and BMW's new chairman, Norbert Reithofer.

BMW has invested £100m at the Mini plant in Oxford to increase capacity for the new model to 240,000 units (an expansion of 20%). When production reaches full capacity 450 new jobs will have been created - 200 at Oxford and 250 at BMW's engine plant at Hams Hall, near Birmingham, UK.

A further £60m has been invested at the Mini body press plant in Swindon, and £30m to build a new family of petrol engines at Hams Hall especially for the Mini. Mini engines were previously sourced from Brazil.

By sourcing engines from the UK, British content of the new Mini has risen to 60% compared with 40% on the previous model.

BMW said that a number of external suppliers of modules and sub-assemblies have also invested in new facilities to be within one hour's travelling time of the Oxford plant. This represents a supplier investment of more than £40m.

Body panels and sub-assemblies can be supplied at four hours' notice from Plant Swindon to Plant Oxford and the engines are delivered from Hams Hall not only just-in-time but in the correct sequence, directly to the assembly line.

The new Mini goes on sale in Cooper and Cooper S versions at the end of this year.