The three-millionth Mini rolled off the Oxford assembly line this week, giving parent BMW AG not one but two impressive reasons to celebrate; the occasion also marks a two-million-unit milestone for vehicles exported from the UK.
It's been a mere 13 years since BMW relaunched the Brit classic, turning into one of the auto sectors all-time great comeback success stories. Since 2001, Minis have been exported to more than 110 countries. The three-millionth built was a five-door model sporting the iconic Union Jack.
After the U.S., its home market is the second-largest for the brand, and the fourth-largest for BMW Group.
“The MINI brand has had strong ties to the UK for decades. Our MINI production in Oxford represents a commitment to the brand’s identity, firmly in line with our successful strategy of “production follows the market”. Oxford is the centre of our British MINI production network, with the Swindon pressings plant and the Hams Hall engine plant near Birmingham,” stated Board of Management member for Production Harald Krüger at the event celebrating the production milestone.
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “I congratulate the workers at MINI Plant Oxford on reaching this remarkable milestone. The MINI is a British icon and is a major part of a thriving automotive industry spearheading the growing British economy. This government is working to create the right environment for car manufacturers like BMW to continue innovating and developing British-made cars with worldwide appeal.”
Since 2001, BMW has invested about £1.75 billion in its British plants; the company will invest £750 million in its Mini UK production network between 2012 and 2015. Plans in Oxford, Swindon and Hams Hall currently employ about 5,600 people. Mini Countryman and Mini Paceman are contract-manufactured at MSF Graz in Austria and other assembly plants in Asia. Contract manufacturer VDL Nedcar (Born, Netherlands) has shared production of the Mini hatch since July.