Makers of the MINI are applauding the 1.5 millionth vehicle that had rolled off Plant Oxford's production line. Witnessing the event were business minister Ian Lucas MP, who represents the automotive sector at the Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) department and BMW Group board member Ian Robertson, along with a group of Plant Oxford apprentices.The Chili red MINI Clubman is intended for a British customer.
Just weeks ago, the MINI's 50th birthday was celebrated. Production of the MINI at the Plant Oxford started in 2001. Since then, the MINI has received numerous awards from all parts of the globe.
Having made its latest launch in Brazil, the MINI is now available in more than 80 countries. The first classic MINI ever was made on May 8, 1959.
He added that despite the difficult time for the car industry, the MINI remains resilient and that in fact, BMW has seen a "strengthening order bank" in recent months. Plans for the MINI include the launch of new models in the coming years.
More than £380 million has been invested by the BMW Group in Plant Oxford since 2001. About £100 million was invested in the Hams Hall and Swindon plants.
The three plants make up the MINI Production Triangle in the UK. The Group, which employs more than 7,000 in the UK, accounts for 1% of the UK's GDP. More than £1 billion has been invested in the UK since 2000.
Minister Ian Lucas said, "The Mini has been a symbol of British design and engineering for 50 years, and I am delighted to hear that it continues to succeed today."
He surmised that longevity of the MINI has come from its innovations, i.e. the 2001 redesign, the efforts to reduce CO2, and the electric MINIS that will be part of the government's Low Carbon Vehicles Demonstrator.
He added that the government will continue its all-out support for the British automotive industry as it transitions to the low carbon future. Having won government backing through the Technology Strategy Board and regional development agency SEEDA, the BMW Group will trial an all-electric MINI in the UK -- the MINI E.
Leading this study on the issues of living with an electric vehicle, BMW will lead a consortium that includes Scottish and Southern Energy and academic partner Oxford Brookes University. A trial on the MINI E is ongoing in the USA and Germany. Between 1959 and 2000, 5.3 million classic MINIs were built, bringing the total to 6.8 million cars when combined with the new MINIs.