There would appear to be a lot of good feeling surrounding the motoring industry in the U.K. at present with production numbers up, sales figures, provided by the SMMT, looking far healthier than at any time in the recent past and now news arriving up on the top floor of MotorMartin Towers that Plant Oxford has celebrated the three millionth MINI to roll off the assembly line since production began back in 2001. That’s definitely impressive and is a worthy milestone certainly worth celebrating in MotorMartin’s opinion.
The three millionth Oxford-built MINI is a John Cooper Works Clubman – the first model to combine the latest John Cooper Works performance enhancements and a new ALL4 all-wheel drive system.
Figures provided by MINI for MotorMartin show that production numbers have increased at the plant from around 300 cars a day in 2001 to around 1,000 built to order cars today and that the 4,500 strong workforce at Oxford produce one new MINI almost every minute. Around 80 per cent of MINIs built here are exported to more than 110 markets across the world.
On Thursday, 1 December, the plant was visited by Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Production, who joined the team in Oxford to celebrate this major UK manufacturing milestone.
Oliver Zipse explained to MotorMartin that: “It’s great to be back in Oxford to mark this fantastic MINI production milestone. Since we began building MINIs back in 2001 the car has proved to be hugely popular with customers right around the world. The passion and commitment that everyone here at the plant has for building a high-quality product is central to that success. The three millionth Oxford-built MINI is a remarkable achievement. Congratulations to everyone who has played their part in making this celebration possible.”
Frank Bachmann, Managing Director of Plant Oxford, shared with MotorMartin that: “Hitting this milestone is a fantastic achievement for everyone on the team here at Oxford. Building the volume of high-quality cars that we have over the past 15 years is something everyone working here can be very proud of.”
Sales of MINI, MotorMartin has been told, both in the UK and internationally, have gone from strength to strength over the last 15 years. In its first year nearly 40,000 MINIs were sold worldwide. By 2015 this number had risen to nearly 340,000. Incredible.
Because of this phenomenal success, three UK plants have a part to play in MINi production – Hams Hall near Birmingham makes engines, Swindon produces body pressings and sub-assemblies for MINI, and this all comes together at Oxford with body shell production, paint and final assembly. Together these plants have helped to generate and sustain employment for thousands of people directly and indirectly though the wider supply chain and retailers.
Since 2000 £1.75 billion has been invested by BMW Group at the three plants and at Oxford this has included a state-of-the-art paintshop, a high-technology body building facility, a new final assembly area, a new logistics centre, Quality and Engineering Centre and the MINIcademy, where the plant’s apprentices are trained.
Students of British motoring history will be especially aware that Oxford, the heart and home of MINI production, has a rich motor manufacturing history. It has been building cars since 1913 when the great designer, entrepreneur and philanthropist William Morris (later Lord Nuffield), produced its first car, a “Bullnose” Morris, near today’s present state-of-the-art MINI production facility.
The classic Mini, designed by Sir Alec Issigonis and launched in 1959, revolutionised the automotive world and was produced at Oxford until 1968 with a peak output of 94,889 cars during 1966-7.
The latest news and insights from the plant can be found via the Instagram page @miniplantoxford which can be accessed using the following link: https://www.instagram.com/miniplantoxford/ and is well worth looking into.
So there you have it, Plant Oxford has celebrated the three millionth MINI to roll off the assembly line since production began back in 2001. Who would have predicted that the all new MINI would have been quite so popular? Apart from BMW of course.
Where will you go?