Bump start for Oxford's MINI future
By Simon Hacker | 9th March 2023
Helped by an expected £75m UK taxpayer grant, BMW is expected to invest £500m and boost jobs in its UK Oxford plant with plans for the next generation of the iconic MINI.
However, with future all-electric MINI production committed to a timetable with Chinese partner Great Wall, Britain's targets as a global hub for zero-emission vehicle manufacture remain in question.
BMW currently makes 40,000 electric Minis per year at its Cowley factory on the outskirts of Oxford, but the German maker confirmed Oxford's production of EVs will end this year as part of plans to reshape the carmaker's lineup from 2024.
This week's investment of around £500m includes funding from the government's Automotive Transformation Fund, backed by Jeremy Hunt, and seeks to jump-start Britain's car production industry.
The cash injection from BMW is calculated at a potential 500 new jobs at the Cowley plant, which celebrated 100 years of car building in 2013 and is seen as a jewel in the remaining crown of the British car industry.
In a statement to City AM, BMW UK refused to comment on media speculation, but added that Cowley's importance remained for its "high degree of flexibility, competitiveness and expertise".
BMW added: "For the next Mini generation, Oxford will produce the majority of MINI models, the MINI Cooper three-door and five-door models, as well as the MINI Convertible — one of our most important vehicles and a worldwide bestseller."
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