In a groundbreaking move towards a sustainable and electrified future, BMW Group has unveiled plans to invest more than £600 million in the expansion and transformation of its Mini factories located in Oxford and Swindon. The UK Government will inject £75 million of this directly into the project. This ambitious initiative sets the stage for the production of the next generation of all-electric Mini vehicles, reinforcing the UK's position in the global automotive industry and marking a significant milestone in BMW's journey towards electric mobility. This follows the recent announcement from Stellantis that they will be setting up a 100%-EV production centre in the UK. The UK Government has wasted no time in standing next to this positive announcement.
The eagerly awaited transformation of the Oxford plant will see it gear up for the production of two all-new all-electric Mini models, the 3-door Mini Cooper and the compact crossover Mini Aceman, slated to roll off the production lines starting in 2026. This bold move aligns with BMW Group's overarching commitment to fully electric vehicle production by 2030. Since the year 2000, the BMW Group has invested over £3 billion across its production facilities in Swindon, Hams Hall, and Oxford, solidifying its long-term commitment to the UK automotive industry.
Milan Nedeljković, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for production, expressed the company's vision, stating, “With this new investment, we will develop the Oxford plant for the production of the new generation of electric Minis and set the path for purely electric car manufacturing in the future.”
In a welcome show of support, the UK Government has endorsed this visionary project, which will play a pivotal role in safeguarding jobs at the Oxford manufacturing plant and Swindon's body-pressing facility. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak applauded BMW Group's investment, affirming the UK's status as a prime destination for building cutting-edge cars. He stated, “By backing our car manufacturing industry, we are securing thousands of jobs and growing our economy right across the country”. These recent stories about new production facilities, resonate nicely with Sunak's endorsement of his Government's securing of a £4 billion investment in local battery production.
Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch echoed these sentiments, saying, “This decision is a big vote of confidence in the UK economy and the work of this Government to ensure the continued strength of our world-leading automotive sector. We are proud to be able to support BMW Group's investment, which will secure high-quality jobs, strengthen our supply chains, and boost Britain's economic growth.”
The Oxford plant, steeped in history, celebrated its 110th anniversary this year and has been successfully producing the current Mini Electric since 2019. It has seamlessly integrated electric vehicle production into its existing assembly lines, alongside conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) models.
Stefanie Wurst, Head of the Mini brand, emphasized the importance of Oxford in Mini's heritage, stating, “Mini has always been aware of its history – Oxford is and remains the heart of the brand. I am delighted that the two new, fully electric Mini models – the Mini Cooper and Mini Aceman – are also being produced in Oxford, thereby confirming our path to a fully electric future.”
The current Mini Plant Oxford portfolio includes both the polluting 3- and 5-door Mini variants and the old Clubman – as well as the Mini Electric. Alongside the fossil-fuelled products, the new factory could be ready for Mini's recently announced clean energy line up.
The factory is projected to achieve a production capacity of approximately 200,000 cars per year and will, from 2030 onward, exclusively manufacture all-electric Mini models – contributing significantly to the reduction of carbon emissions.
Mini's centre in Leipzig, Germany will also carry on producing fossil-fuelled vehicles, while the much more forward thinking centre in China will focus on achieving a cleaner balance.
The recent investment announcement will have a far-reaching impact on the main production areas in Oxford. Existing production lines will undergo extensive development, including an expansion of the current body shop and the creation of a new area dedicated to battery installation. Additionally, logistics facilities will be constructed at both the Oxford and Swindon sites, streamlining the manufacturing process.
Markus Grüneisl, CEO of Plants Oxford and Swindon, expressed pride in the pivotal role these plants will play in the BMW Group's transition to electrification, stating, “I am proud to say that our Oxford and Swindon plants will play a central role in the BMW Group's transition to electromobility. We are determined to continue the historic success story of our plants, producing the most loved British car brand.”
Sustainability is an intrinsic part of the BMW Group's production network, and Oxford Plant is no exception. A comprehensive approach aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and minimizing resource consumption forms the bedrock of Plant Oxford's sustainability initiatives. One remarkable example is the plant's expansive roof-mounted solar farm, boasting over 11,500 photovoltaic panels covering an area equivalent to five football pitches. This solar farm generates enough electricity to power the equivalent of 850 households, significantly reducing the plant's carbon footprint by approximately 1,500 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Mini Plant Oxford, deeply ingrained in its community for over a century, employs more than 3,400 highly skilled employees and apprentices. These dedicated individuals collectively produce up to 1,000 Minis daily, translating to one vehicle rolling off the assembly line every 67 seconds. As the third-largest vehicle producer in the UK, the plant is on track to produce over 13 million cars by the end of this year, representing 14 different brands. Over the years, the plant has provided employment to over 500,000 individuals, exemplifying its profound impact on the local community and the broader automotive industry.
The Swindon plant, established in 1955 by Pressed Steel, initially as an overflow facility for the Oxford site, currently houses around 600 associates working on three Blanking and 12 Press lines.
Underpinning this transformative initiative is the BMW iFactory, a strategic plan that encompasses all BMW Group production sites, guided by the principles of ‘Lean. Green. Digital.' The Oxford Mini Plant plays a pivotal role in BMW Group's transition to electromobility, aligning seamlessly with the global BMW iFactory approach.
The use of digitalisation and virtual planning tools is already well-established at the Oxford and Swindon plants, streamlining building configuration and logistics planning. In a remarkable leap forward, the entire Plant Oxford and Swindon facilities will undergo comprehensive 3D scanning, generating a comprehensive digital dataset of both the buildings and their systems. This innovative approach reflects BMW Group's commitment to harnessing cutting-edge technology to drive the future of sustainable mobility.
As the world eagerly anticipates the arrival of the next generation of all-electric Mini vehicles, BMW Group's unwavering commitment to sustainability, innovation, and job preservation is poised to reshape the landscape of the automotive industry, further solidifying the UK's role as a global leader in electric vehicle manufacturing. With this monumental investment, the road to a greener and electrified future begins in Oxford, propelling us towards a cleaner and more sustainable world of mobility.