BMW's Plant Oxford recently celebrated the three millionth MINI to roll off the assembly line since production began back in 2001.
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.
From around 300 cars a day in 2001 to around 1,000 built to order cars today, the 4,500 strong workforce at Oxford produce one new MINI almost every minute, and about 80 percent of MINIs built in the plant are exported to more than 110 markets across the world.
Since the plant began building MINIs back in 2001, the car has proven hugely popular with customers.
In its first year, nearly 40,000 MINIs were sold worldwide. By 2015 the number had risen to nearly 340,000.
Three UK plants have a part to play in its 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 ($2.23 billion USD) has been invested by BMW Group at the three plants. At Oxford, this has included a state-of-the-art paint shop, a high-technology body building facility, a new final assembly area, a new logistics center, Quality and Engineering Center and the MINIcademy, where the plant’s apprentices are trained.
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, revolutionized the automotive world and was produced at Oxford until 1968 with a peak output of 94,889 cars during 1966-7.