New MINI, unveiled on Monday at its Oxford home, not only secures the future of the Cowley factory, it also provides a major boost for UK based suppliers.
“We’re sourcing 50 per cent more parts from UK suppliers than with the current generation MINI,” Harald Krueger, BMW Group’s board member for production, told reporters. “It’s a success story for UK suppliers.
“Our total investment of £750 million in Oxford, Swindon and Hams Hall between 2012 and 2015 underscores the importance of the MINI production triangle within our global production network.”
Key to the new MINI is its new architecture which gives a more rigid yet lighter body, he said. It also allows the use of more advanced materials and more advanced technology – technology like a head-up display that previously has been confined to high-end models like the 7 Series.
It also allows the use of new powertrains; new MINI will be the first BMW product to use the Hams Hall built three-cylinder diesel and petrol engines. These are up to 27 per cent more fuel-efficient yet offer 10 per cent more power than the engines they replace, said Krueger, adding that the new manual Cooper S is slightly quicker 0-62mph than the outgoing model.
The flexible architecture allows for vehicles of between 3.9m and 4.5m to be built, so both MINI and BMW models will be built on it.
“We could produce between eight and 10 different MINIs on this architecture and its always good to have more ideas than we have models,” said Krueger.
BMW will continue to be “careful stewards” of MINI, he said. “It’s a British icon, ageless and classless.”
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told guests at the unveiling that any initial scepticism when BMW took control of MINI had vanished. “Today we know that MINI is in excellent and safe hands.
“The whole workforce here has proved the UK can compete globally. The government is working hard with BMW and the rest of the UK car industry to create the right kind of environment for investment.”
text: Headline auto