UK [updated 12.08.08]: BMW wants Mini plant cost cuts

By just-auto.com editorial team | 11 August 2008

Mini sales are soaring, but that isn't stopping parent company BMW looking for cost cuts at the Oxford plant.

The German automaker is worried about falling profits as the global credit crunch adds to rising oil and raw materials costs. One plan being looking at is for the Mini to share a vehicle platform with the BMW 1-series in future.

According to German trade magazine Automobilewoche, this might happen if plans to jointly develop a small car platform with Fiat fall through. BMW chief Norbert Reithofer has called for a sharp reduction in Mini production costs at Oxford even though demand globally is buoyant and the factory is running to capacity.

Last week the Oxford plant ended production of the popular (first generation) Mini Convertible because it needs the assembly lines to meet demand for the second generation Mini and Clubman model.

The company said that a new convertible is being developed for the second generation Mini, but launch date is yet to be revealed.

BMW has not said what other measures it might take at the Mini plant as the company's profits are expected to fall 40% this year. Reithofer has already halted development of a luxury SUV, the X7.

At home in Germany the company wants to reduce labour costs by outsourcing operations such as its fleet-driver service, security and food services.

BMW shuns US for more profitable