BMW’s unit celebrates this week 15 years since the first reborn Mini rolled off the Oxford plant’s production line in the UK.
BMW decided more than 15 years ago to bring back to life the iconic British brand and on April 26, 2001, the first reinvented Mini was built at the Oxford Plant in the UK, a facility bought by the German premium maker from the owner of the Rover Group, British Aerospace, in 1994. Since 2001, more than 2.5 million Minis have been produced in Oxford and 80 percent of them were exported. The three million milestone mark is expected to be hit later in 2016. In its first year of its new life, nearly 40,000 Minis were sold worldwide, for 2015 to find the marque reaching almost 340,000 units, with more than 63,000 sold to customers in the UK, the highest since the relaunch.
The plant’s automotive history dates back to 1913 when William Morris produced its first car, a “Bullnose” Morris, while the classic Mini was built at Oxford from 1959 until 1968 with a peak output of 94,889 cars during 1966/67. The site in Cowley, southeast of Oxford, employs today 4,500 people, who are making around 1,000 vehicles a day, including three and five door Minis, the Clubman and its all-wheel drive All4 version, and the John Cooper Works hot-hatch.
There are three British which take part in Mini’s production: Hams Hall near Birmingham makes engines, Swindon produces body pressings and sub-assemblies, and all comes together at Oxford with body shell production, paint and final assembly.