1,200 new jobs will be created, following news of £200 million investment to boost production of the new MINI in Oxford. The jobs will come in car making and component supply as the proportion of UK-sourced components rises from 40 to 60 per cent. Total MINI output is expected to increase 20 per cent to 240,000 units per year, to meet worldwide demand.
As well as up to 200 new jobs at Oxford, 250 jobs will be created at Hams Hall. £30 million has already been invested in the west midlands engine plant to develop a series of fuel-efficient petrol engines for the new model. MINI engines had previously come from Brazil.
The launch of production saw UK chancellor Gordon Brown MP and BMW Group’s new chairman Dr Norbert Reithofer in Plant Oxford. Speaking at a press conference, Dr Reithofer praised what he described as the MINI triangle, featuring Oxford and Hams Hall and Plant Swindon, where £60 million will be invested in body pressings and sub-assembly technologies to supply the new car.
‘Our new MINI production triangle has established a lean, efficient and flexible production network and allows us to continue to offer MINI customers unrivalled built-to-order flexibility in the small car segment’, he said.
Complementing the boost to BMW’s three plants, UK component suppliers will benefit from around 750 new jobs. Investment of an additional £40 million is expected to support the supply of large-scale components from British companies to the Oxford plant.
‘I’m delighted that BMW Group continues to invest in three successful plants in the UK’, said Christopher Macgowan SMMT chief executive. ‘There is no doubt that MINI is one of the success stories in UK car manufacturing but I am also particularly thrilled to see local suppliers benefiting from this significant good news story.’
BMW Group employs around 8,000 people in its UK operations and an additional 10,900 within the dealer network. Today’s announcement will bring total UK investment by the company to close on a billion pounds.