A centenary exhibition had opened last March 28 at the MINI Plant Oxford’s new Visitor Centre to mark the plant’s 100 years of production. The event was led by Britain’s Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Member of the Board of Management at BMW Harald Krüger. Exactly a hundred years ago, a “Bullnose” Morris Oxford (the first car that the plant rolled out) was built very near to the location of the existing MINI production facility.
In 1913, the plant produced 20 vehicles each week but its output has increased quickly over the years that followed. So far, the plant has built more than 11.65 million cars that carry the badges of 14 various brands. Throughout the plant’s history, it has had more than 500,000 workers, peaking at 28,000 in the early 1960s.
Currently, Plant Oxford has as many as 3,700 associates and rolls out as many as 900 MINI cars daily. Since production started, over 2.25 million MINIs have come out of the assembly line. The opening of this exhibition elicited greetings from Prime Minister David Cameron who said that the plant has significantly contributed to the British economy in the past 100 years and that everyone involved should be proud of this. He also said that MINI’s success throughout the world has been achieved together with a renewal of the production facility.
He emphasized that the sophisticated production equipment offers an “excellent example of how intelligent investment and British manufacturing can come together to great effect.” The person credited for having started the plant is its founder William Morris, later known as Lord Nuffield.
Back then, Morris was considered as one of the most respected philanthropists in the world. He was known to have given away the current money equivalent of £11 billion (€13 billion). He also funded three wings of the University of Oxford that carry the title he assumed later on. He gave away the iron lungs he built and later donated to local hospitals.